Thursday, September 6, 2012

I love Ministry.

There are moments traveling, when you meet people that speak your heart language. You come into a place, and immediately feel at home. When you leave that place you feel full in your heart, and you think about how lovely the people were.

It is true that a city will leave an impression of beauty on your soul, amazing restaurants, incredible coffee shops, the beach, the atmosphere, the smells, the sounds... but really it is the eyes and smiles of the people you sat face to face with that leave the lasting impression. These moments don't always come, but when they do, they remind you that the kingdom of God is alive and growing. You smile internally as you leave that place, in your van full of musicians and interns. You are full. You remember why you love traveling, you breathe deep and thank God for the privilege of ministry.

This weekend we were at Big House Church in Norfolk, Virginia. It was one of those treasured weekends full of everything I described. I don't always travel with Jonathan, but I wasn't going to miss being with this amazing family. From the first moment we arrived we felt the overwhelming joy and expectancy in the spirit. It kept flowing thru set up, to the pre-service prayer, to the first note we played. And the worship...amazing. 350 people crammed into a room, our band set up in the center. Deep heart felt worship. The beautiful presence of heaven. And then...I found out we were having a double date with Adam (the pastor) and his wife. No kids, a beautiful restaurant, deep conversation. Sweet Jesus I am in heaven! Every mom and dad knows exactly what I am talking about. Three hours of uninterrupted glory! I savored every moment. This morning we walked on the beach with there 4 children drinking in the beauty, laughing, enjoying the gift of growing friendship. I love being in a home where you feel the tangible love of heaven every where. A home that is so well loved, every corner and mantle is delicately placed with things that you know mean something. A home that feels lived in, enjoyed, full. A home where family is celebrated.

I am thankful for beautiful families doing beautiful life. I am thankful for pastors truly loving people and teaching them the kingdom. I am thankful for building friendship in the midst of ministry. I am refreshed, I am full, I am alive with expectancy of the kingdom of heaven on earth. Thank you Big House for making space for the presence of the Father not just in your meetings but in your lives, it has left a beautiful impact on our farm family. We will change the earth with love.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Practicing the Art of Savoring

Today I sit on the edge of the rocky, Maine shore, covered in a canopy of thick, rubbery, seaweed the color deep brown and green. The shores in the distance are lined with tall evergreens towering over the rocks. I am in a picturesque land. I take it in as I lounge in my lovely chair.

Intentional rest.

Two weeks with no agenda, no work, nothing to do but rest and enjoy. I desire deeply to "carpe diem" this time and slow down. It is August, but I am at the farthest most point on the eastern shore of the US, so I am naturally not lounging in a swimsuit but a lovely thick, shawl collared sweater. I am in this moment learning the discipline of practicing what I teach my children...savoring. The air is crisp and refreshing. I breath in deep and exhale slow. I watch my lovely children and husband set off in a kayak to the tiny islands in the distance, they stick up out of the sea and beckon little children to come and conquer. They are giggling loud with excitement. Adventure, our human souls crave even in the littlest, youngest heart.

I sit totally content in my chair. Why? Because that water is freezing and the thought of getting wet makes me shiver on the insides. I watch with delight taking in the beauty of it all from a distance. I can see Cadence trying so hard to row in sink with Jonathan. Small arms wanting to help carry the weight of the row. They reach the tiny island and with joy they run around it screaming and shouting. I can barely hear them in the distance but I can see them jumping up and down, like they are the first to make it to this island conquering it with there shouts and arms raised high above their heads. Something so small has filled there heart tanks so full.

If you can't imagine this seen getting any more lovely just the distance of the sea air I hear the sound of bagpipes. Is this for real? They echo over the waters and turn this beautiful seen into a magnificent moment. I strain to hear the melody that is being played, could it really be...Amazing Grace? Unbelievable. I am in awe of how the Lord knows what I love even when I don't. I am in this moment full blown, my heart is soaring. I can feel the 360 view of my soul taking it all in. I am happy, I am content. I feel loved, I feel seen. I am starting to feel rested, smiling and laughing more often.

Vacation by definition means: a period of suspension from work, study or activity, usually used for rest, freedom or release from duty, business, or activity. I embrace you vacation to restore all the vibrant color back to my soul. Do what you are intended to do. Rejuvenate my inner space as I learn to savor the moments.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The In-Between

{for the full effect...this should be read while listening to the song "Le Chant" by Andrea Marie Reagan link to Andrea Marie's Album

Pictures usually inspire my heart to write…pictures I see waiting to happen outside my window, pictures I make with my handy little iphone or my big Canon Mark II, pictures I create in my mind when beautiful music is playing, pictures I see when looking back thru the history of our life remembering the moments that swept me off my feet and made me remember why I am alive.  This morning I was looking back thru my photos…and there it was, my Cadence Zion, 9 years old, brown as an indian, sitting in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  As parents we "capture" our children with our eyes all the time…most of those times are when they are not looking. It is the way there hands move or the way they smile when no one is around and they amuse themselves, or maybe when they look at you and all at once you feel love like you've never felt before.  I feel like a constant camera, asking the Holy Spirit always to help me savor this life I have with them.  I ask that He would keep me alert and alive, that my eyes could be kissed with eternity.  He has put eternity in the hearts of men…How do we connect with eternity in every day life.  I am on a journey to feel eternity here on this earth…in the real soil of life.  Cadence Zion here in this moment…I caught him in the in between.  In between what? I can't remember. It doesn't matter.  Oh that every season would be my favorite.  That I would look back on life and feel overwhelmed by the goodness of God to invite me into motherhood.  Life is moving, always, may we get into the flow of the beauty of it.  That we would trade in our heaviness for a weightless grace to love deep.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Helser Family West Coast/Hawaii Excursion

{ Part Three: Hawaii}
I have waited a long time to post my final part of our family excursion to the West. I needed time for the depth of what happened to really sink into my heart. I needed to wait and really hear from the Lord what I should write, and not write. Really I just needed time. You see, one of the best parts of the trip was that we were going to get to see my sister and her family in Hawaii. They are leaders of a YWAM school in Kona, Hawaii. You must know that my sister, Shannon, is my most treasured friend in the whole world. She is the truest and most lovely example of family and friendship that I have ever seen. The privilege of getting to see them there, in Hawaii, with our kids was unbelievable. Not to mention that their daughter Shiloh and my daughter Haven are best friends. While we were in Oregon we got a call that my sister had gone to the doctor for an 8 month check-up for her pregnancy. While there, the nurse could not find a heartbeat. I cannot explain what the next 24 hours felt like. These are the moments that you choose to shed your methods of praying like a beggar and take up a wild trust in the Father. You say to yourself, "The Lord would never let this baby die...." You strap on your knee pads and fall to floor, you weep, you yell, you fall silent and then you pray more. We waited 24 hours till my sister gave birth to Selah Praise...she was stillborn. You will find out in time that my life has not been void of suffering and sorrow, but this sent my heart into a tailspin. Where was His goodness in all of this?

We arrived in Kona 4 days later, and the timing of it all was crazy. I have tried over and over
to figure out how to describe what my heart felt and experienced in those days. How do you describe sorrow? I sat on the porch the first night asking the Father how I was going to teach and lead worship in the middle of all this. The Father responded, "Melissa, you have found me in the tension, you will find me again." Jonathan, Cadence, Haven and I had the privilege of going to the hills of the Big Island to bury little Selah Praise. I have never experienced a funeral so sweet and so sad. My sister had given all the children beautiful Hawaiian leaves and flowers to put on the grave. In the waiting time, the kids had played with the leaves to the point of them falling apart. As we walked through the lovely hills, Cadence asked me if he could say something during the ceremony. Honestly, I was reluctant to let him, not knowing what he would say and not wanting him to be overwhelmed in the moment, but he insisted. At the end of the ceremony, Cadence walked with confidence up to the grave, broken leaf and flower in hand. He looked at everyone and said, " Selah's body is like this leaf, but her spirit is like this flower." He then pulled the striking white flower out of the leaf. He confidently went on to talk about Selah being in Heaven with the Lord and how happy she is. After a few minutes he turned and looked at the little casket. He dropped the flower and said, "Selah, I will see you in Heaven."

I am consistently proud of my kids, but it has taken me months to understand what the Lord did
that day. My nine-year-old was able to rise above grief and sorrow and declare truth. Sure, he has not had seasons of intense suffering, but maybe that is why the Lord said, "to even see the Kingdom of God, you must see like a child." We so quickly lose "our sight." Disappointment creeps in and poisons our heart. We marry circumstance and the love of the Lord...things going great--He loves me...things going bad--He has left me. We try to fight the whispering lie that He is not good and doesn't care. I will not pretend that this lie wasn't loud in my ears. It was blaring. I spent the last days in Kona teaching about worship, standing on stages and singing about His love and weeping with my sister. I will rejoice and speak of my niece with joy, for she is more alive than I can imagine, living in the fullness of everything I believe in. Resurrection is flowing in her body. She is dancing with the angels, walking with the Father and being consumed with tangible love. Hawaii, to say the least, was glorious and terrible, beautiful and tragic. The Father said to me once,"Melissa, if you can't see me in the rain, you can't see me at all." I chose, there, to see Him in the torrential downpour of sorrow. I know the clouds will part and shine the brightest light on my sister and brother and their beautiful children. In the meantime, we ride the waves of sorrow and let them take us to the shores of joy. I heard Kris Vallaton say recently, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. How can you be comforted unless you properly let your heart mourn." I refuse to end this post with some crazy revelation and feel pressure to turn my life into some amazing ministry moment. We laughed, we cried, we ate good food and bad, we went to the beach, we sat in silence and weeping, we sang to Lord and let Him sing over us, we savored the privilege of life and breath and the beauty of family, and at the end of it all this I know, that even when we walk to the edge of sorrow and back, He is unexplainably good.

Traveling with kids Tip #8
[Even in the midst of unplanned heartache don't try to shelter them from it, just remember to still laugh & build sand castles]



{Haven aiming to conquer the Hawaiian Ocean with her floaties}

{My beautiful sister & brother in law...I love them deep}

{My amazing mother...the best grandmother in the world!}
palm trees

{My sweet niece Arrow...I was the first person she saw when she came into the world & naturally her favorite}

Traveling with kids Tip #9
[Always, Always, Always stop on the side of the road and take beautiful pictures...your children must see you live in and capture the moment]


beauty sky

Traveling with kids Tip #10
[Teach your kids to savor the end of it all family is the greatest gift]

silly girls

{Have I mentioned that I love my husband and children.}

{Haven and her best friend/cousin Shiloh Grace}