Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Helser Family West Coast/Hawaii Excursion

{ Part Three: Hawaii}
kona
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]

family1

zion

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

{My beautiful sister & brother in law...I love them deep}
hills1

{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}
mel&arrow

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]

tree

beauty sky

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

silly girls

{Have I mentioned that I love my husband and children.}
family2

{Haven and her best friend/cousin Shiloh Grace}
haven-shiloh

12 comments:

  1. This touched my heart so deeply. Just beautiful.
    Melissa

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  2. even though i'd heard it already, seeing it in print is even more beautiful. what a tribute. what a cadence. what a family. what a grace.

    and i'd have to agree that those who see you right when they're born, it's something remarkable that carries a special bond, attachment and love: for both hearts. sweetness and love of a different kind.

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  3. I'm sure it was hard to put those days in Hawaii in words. You wrote in such a way as if we were there with you. Awesome photography too!

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  4. Been waiting for this one. Fine wine and authentic communication take time. Thanks for taking yours. So glad Abba pre-arranged that family moment. Doesn't make it all better, but helps distribute the heavy weight. Your words and images helped my own heart heal a little. How odd it will be in eternity to look back on this eyelash-blink of time, with it's fallen world, pain, loss, choice, mercy, and grace. "Where sin and pain abounded, grace abounded more", we'll say. Or something like that.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this story with all of us. I lost a sister to stillbirth when I was 10 years old and I will forever remember the moment I found out. Your strength and the way you supported your sister through the whole thing challenges me to be a better supporter in my family as well. Also thank you so much for taking your time to be apart of what is happening at YWAM Kona. I am a fellow Hawaiian YWAMer (I did my DTS in Maui) and I will forever love and miss the community of YWAM until I go back one day after finishing my degree. Your pictures made me miss it even more and I cannot wait until the day the Lord releases me to go back.

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  6. Your blog is so therapeutic and truly a work of art bourn out of a soul touched deeply by the Father. Thank you.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your pain and redemption. This is a really meaningful blog.

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  8. Raw and beautiful. Thank you.

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  9. so fun and beautiful! Love you guys. If i never get to meet you guys on this side of eternity, ill make sure to find you with Dad. :)

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  10. This is awesome stuff Melissa! Though tragic, it is verrrrry powerful! It's great to see your endurance of faith!!! God be glorified!
    Also, it's spelled "Vallotton," just for future reference. =)
    Keep this stuff coming! Loving your blog!!!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story...
    My dear friend lost her 3 year old daughter (and sister and 11 year old nephew) on Saturday... one of her friends posted a link to "Amy's Song" and it touched me deeply. Naturally being as curious as I am, I decided to find out the story behind it and stumbled upon your blog and more importantly this post. Now I know this isn't the story behind "Amy's Song", but it is about pain, tragedy, faith and hope... and then at the very end to be completely shattered to see that your oldest nieces name is Shiloh Grace... just like my friends daughter. Anyway, just wanted to share how much you have touched me, and hopefully my friend by sharing your story. Pls if you could offer up a prayer for her and her family at this incomprehensible time. xxx

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  12. This is very timely. I was just this morning with my precious daughter as she viewed the ultrasound of her 11 week baby with no heartbeat. I have been trying to pray for her and her husband and trying to process this but hitting a wall. Asking the Lord how to process this through the Holy Spirit and to help and pray for them. And then I stumble upon your blog. And this entry in particular. I know this is the Lord that I found this today. Thank you. I'm going to direct her to this when it is time. But thank you. I am choosing to trust and choosing to praise and choosing to mourn. He is good.

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