Today’s artist is a relatively new influence for me. I read her book, Breathing Room, at a time when I really needed some. She speaks the kind of soul language I’m always looking for but rarely find, the kind that comes from thoughtful silence, faithful waiting, and long, dark nights.
When life feels like an airplane emergency, Leanna comes along and reminds us – put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. I needed that reminder. She is a writer who encourages us to be fully human as we turn to Christ. And that’s why Leeana Tankersley is an artist who influences.
Today I’ve asked her to share some artists who have influenced her. Here’s Leeana:
About 4 years ago, I found myself on a beach in Northern California, up to my eyeballs in the exhaustion you feel when every expectation you have of yourself is unmet. Sitting in the cold January sand, I confessed the truth that had been rattling around in me—unattended—for too long: “I wish everyone would just leave me alone.”
At the time, I had one-year-old boy/girl twins and subpar personal hygiene, and I was buying into the toxic, venomous lie that I was grossly inadequate for my own life.
Later that same day, I saw some of the women who love me and walk with me and I told them what I had confessed to the trees. I told them that I wished everyone would just leave me alone.
Do you know what these women did? They looked at me with the most empathetic tenderness in their eyes and they said, “We see you. We hear you. We love you.”
They didn’t get offended. They didn’t try to talk me out of how I was feeling. They didn’t try to spiritualize my state. They didn’t encourage me to focus on how blessed I was instead.
They honored my struggle. Period.
During the seasons in my life when I have needed breathing room—which has been more than I’d like to admit—the artists who have influenced me the most have been my extraordinary tribe of women. They sit very close to me and pet my arm and love me in spite of my over-caffeination and manic frenzy. When I’m frantic and scared and spinning stories about myself that don’t hold up, they put me on a stretcher and cut a hole in the roof and lower me down to Jesus.
These are the women who clean off my kitchen countertops and take my baby out of my arms and check in on me via text and look in my eyes and tell me they love me. These are the women who make music with their very lives, who sing a song of healing and hope by their very being.
They don’t try to fix me, even though I so often need fixing. They let me own my truth, which I believe is how things begin to change—when we stand toe-to-toe with reality. They tolerate the discomfort of it all. They breathe with me and say prayers. This expression has been the stabilizing force and creative catapult that has taken me by the hand and helped me walk into a better me.
This is the ninth post in a month-long series called Artists Who Influence. You can see a complete list of artists here.