Global Lit

Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley

“I‘m going to tell you how hard it is to feel like you’re suffocating when your life is so gorgeous, and how badly I turned on myself in the midst of the Hard because I couldn’t do better and be more. I punished myself for being human, for struggling, which is heartbreaking because it prolonged and intensified the struggle even more.”   Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

My professor, Em Griffin started each class by reading us a chapter of  Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.  The man who’d written the book on communication theory captured my heart  with the simple story of a woman who reached the end of herself, her addictions, her version of humanism and found hope in a little African-American church.

Anne’s gritty, tender, unflinching story became my banner as I watched my own world sink and began tearing down years of bad theology and misplaced platitudes.  The power of her naked, glorious story gave me the courage to write my own.

Recently, Leeana and I were invited to write for NIV: Fresh Insight’s for Thriving in Today’s World.  It was Leeana’s honest an gracious voice that captured my attention the same way Anne’s did year’s ago.  Leeana gives us all hope that the neurotic part of our souls can bring dignity and hope for others if we simple pull back the veil and let ourselves be known.   Obviously, I’ve dragged this book everywhere, coffee shops, retreats, swim practice, it’s dogeared and underlined. It’s the type of book you read a chapter at a time in order to embrace your chaos with a a little more compassion.

“I will disapoint people and I will inspire people. So will you. We don’t have to run from our magic and our mundaness.. We turn toward it all, the beautiful mess, and we say. “Yes, I am all of that” and “I see you. I hear you. I love you.” This is one of life’s greatest reliefs.”  Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

Leeana and I cut our writing teeth in the same way at the same time from heartache, desperate  to know a God who could heal our deep, unexpected, wounds when she wroteFound Art.  It’s an honor to shine a light on Leeana’s latest work Breathing Room since I feel like we’re long lost writing sisters.

Breathing Room is for travelers struggling with what Leeana calls the Hard and the Come Apart times whether it’s in a far away land or suburban sprawl. Leeana is a fellow wanderer who discovered loss and joy when her family moved to Bahrain with three young children.  I love her perspective that trauma is personal and it doesn’t need to be hard by anyone else’s definition.  Rest is a sacred word to Leeana and I’m so grateful for the guts she has to share her darkest most inspiring moments with the world.

“Scripture says. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ If we allow ourselves the time and space to mourn, we will be comforted. On the other hand, if we believe we must suck it up and cope and steel ourselves against the loss, the comfort will be much harder to come by.”  Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly

For updates on Leeana’s next work Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s been Hiding. Check out her blog for updates and encouragement.

#neverstopreading

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Books make excellent traveling companions. I can tell ...

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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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And yet my loneliness provides a voice

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The margin between exultation and despair is the place I reach out

The prayer to be heard becomes a longing to be understood 
The desire flows into rhythm and story flows out into the world

When the Lord spoke the world into being he created from the void 
From nothing he created life and beauty 
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The divine spark of creativity is a gift 
Left over from the beginning of time

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The space between belonging and being lost

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The beauty in a gathering of friends is the warmth that is ignited within us. The gentle touches that make us feel welcomed and cared for can be as simple as a cup of coffee or as detailed as exquisitely laid table. Both are an offering of love and kindness. Yesterday, a lovely group of women that I admire invited me into partake in friendship, a good meal and a moment of encouragement. As I walk away with renewed and nourished soul I am so thankful for these women who remind me of the gifts of hospitality. I'm grateful for the tender power of this art form, this place to gather that feeds the spirit, mind and heart.
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