Making Space for Breathing Room

I came to my neighborhood coffee shop to find a quiet place to write. I chose my table in a little alcove by the window and set up shop. My phone, my laptop, my books, my iced tea, all arranged on my table. I’m ready to write. Except it's not very quiet.

I am surrounded by a gang of preteen boys.

Two boys arrive with a skateboard and sit at the table next to me. Two more boys with skateboards join them.

They just keep on coming as three more boys pull up chairs. Now there are seven boys crowded into my little alcove. {Along with several skateboards, which appear a lot larger than I would imagine when they are propped against my table.} They’re loud, laughing and playing videos on their phones. 

I'm not really sure why they're hanging out at a coffee shop, but I feel like I need some space. A spot a little less crowded with a few empty chairs. I could definitely use some breathing room.

Leeana Tankersley honestly and tenderly explores this idea in her new book, Breathing Room. She finds herself overwhelmed after moving to Bahrain with her three small children to join her husband who is stationed there for the Navy. 

She writes deeply about her feelings. Wondering why she’s coming apart at the seams, even when her life is good. 

She bravely writes about courage. Clinging to it through her turbulent days as a mother, wife and a friend, searching for what God is doing in her life. 

She steadfastly writes about perseverance as she hunts for splashes of color and beauty in the beigeness of Bahrain.

She beautifully writes about beauty. That it is all the more magnificent when it is hard-won and we recognize God in the frayed and fabulous scraps of our lives

She acknowledges the mysterious unfolding of God's plan for her, that she doesn’t always understand or even agree with, but marvels that he loves her enough to take her on a journey.

So do I.

When it feels as if life is suffocating me, God unfathomably gives me some breathing room and I glimpse the sky above me. 

But I've noticed that the answers to the questions I prayerfully ask, aren't really answers but wisdom for my life.

When I look for an answer to what God is doing in my life, God asks me to trust him.

I want to know what the future holds. I want to know what the coming months will bring. But God tells me to trust him each day, every morning anew, with just enough grace, just enough courage to see me through.

When I look for help and direction, God asks me to follow him.

He doesn’t write it in the sky for me. He doesn’t hand me a map. And he doesn't print me turn-by-turn directions. 

He just asks me to follow him. When I want to know what to do, how I should handle a perplexing situation, and what my perspective should be, I listen for his whisper. 

And I hear these words: pray, trust, wait.

And when I look for God, I'm reminded of him all around me. 

Eagles roost down by our neighborhood lake, high in the trees. I’ve seen them there once or twice, but never in flight. 

Until last week, when I recognized the white head of a bald eagle as it flew over my screened courtyard early in the morning.  

I was reminded of the scripture about eagles in Isaiah. And I was encouraged to keep hoping in the Lord, who will renew my strength so I can soar just as if I were carried on the strong wings of that eagle.

I am so overcome by his presence. I want to experience it more. This is what my heart longs for. 

Especially in the quiet spaces I am learning to make for him in my life.

Eventually I found some breathing room at the coffee shop.

The boys left in a rush. One boy told the group that they should put the chairs back, but no one listened to him. 

I watched him hesitate, then he turned to the chairs scattered around the alcove and put them all back around the table.

As he picked up his skateboard, I told him that was an awfully nice thing to do. He shrugged and said thanks and joined his friends outside.

Suddenly, my little alcove in the coffee shop was peaceful again and I had a lot more breathing room. 

I am part of Revell Reads blogger review tour for Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley. I received a complimentary copy of the book, but my opinions are completely my own.

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for Your Heart. Click here for more encouragement!


  1. Thank you for this - I enjoyed reading about what God is doing in your life- I can so relate to this that you wrote,"I am so overcome by his presence. I want to experience it more. This is what my heart longs for." Your pictures are beautiful! Thanks! Stopping by From Holley's

    1. Susie,
      Thank you for stopping by and reading! So grateful for your encouragement!

  2. "She beautifully writes about beauty. That it is all the more magnificent when it is hard-won and we recognize God in the frayed and fabulous scraps of our lives. " I love this description.. Valerie,your pictures are always so breathing friendly and beautiful. A rest for the eyes. I am with you. I need breathing room too. Its basically a treasure hunt to find breathing room. To work it into your day. To agree with God that you are not the one who must fix all or do all. Simply to be available to those quiet tender moments when He can step in and fill your soul. I love this Valerie!

    1. Summer,
      So glad you enjoy the photos (they are from my recent visit to a goat farm)! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your encouragement -- I look forward to hearing from you in this space! :)

  3. Wow. Spectacular photos! I am excited that all of these authors want your reviews! I can definitely see why, they are beautifully written!

    1. I knew you'd like the photo of the doors! :)

  4. Things would be easier if God's plans for me were written in the sky, but definitely not better!
    It sounds like a great book!

    1. Sarah,
      Yes, if that were the case we wouldn't need much faith or trust in his plans for us!

  5. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing Breathing Room. Such a beautiful post! And I love your images, too!

    1. Leeana,
      Thank you so much for stopping by! Loved reading your beautiful new book!


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