At a time when many are in self-quarantine to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 virus, Bethel Music worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal said Jesus asked her to isolate herself after the tragic death of her 2-year-old daughter.
“I’ve been quarantined. It’s been three months, mine began shortly after Olive’s memorial. Jesus asked me to,” Heiligenthal, from Bethel Church in Redding, California, wrote on Instagram. “Isolation from the majority, distance, space to heal. I’d resisted it, downplayed it, overplayed it, and then gave into it.”
Kalley’s daughter, Olive, was buried on Dec. 28, 2019. She was pronounced dead on Dec. 14 after she suddenly stopped breathing.
“I’d rather have stayed up and moving, looking triumphant and unfazed, but I had broken bones and He’s too good to let me move around like normal on them. He was clear they weren’t broken from defeat — there’s no defeat here. But pain? Yes. Loss in this lifetime? Yes.”
God has refused to leave, she continued, “even when I thought He should.”
She added that she tried to “play it cool, tidy, right and holy, but could only do that so long before it all started to come out.”
The singer said she never doubted His goodness, “but anger, disappointment, searing loss had to get out.”
“He never left, didn’t correct me. He pulled in closer.”
She wrote that she is looking for rest, which “comes from His hand, not from answers or resolve or things back to normal.”
“I’ll never have my old normal, who knows when you’ll get yours. But He does make all things new. I don’t know how but He does and He will.”
Alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic, she continued, “In what the world is facing now, He’s King, He’s Shepherd. He defeated death, disease and torment and so secure in it that we all can afford to hide in Him and pull from His confidence in this time.”
After Olive stopped breathing, Kalley wrote an Instagram post asking all supporters to pray for her. “We’re asking for prayer. We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power,” she wrote. “We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life.”
Later, Kalley shared the anguish she was feeling after the burial. “I can access the searing shock of the last couple weeks and stop there, but if I push one step further, 2019 is overwhelmingly saturated with treasured memories I would never trade and will fight to cherish,” she wrote. “I choose tender thankfulness.
She continued: "As for the future, as I feel the noble aching lack of her not with us for a lifetime, the better truth is I can look just beyond and know so vividly that this life is only a breath, and for all eternity we’ll be close again. Jesus bought that for us. So I choose triumphant thankfulness. And the more I do it the more I feel it.”
Bethel Church Senior Leader Bill Johnson explained why his church prayed as they did. “Resurrection is at the heart of Jesus’ behavior but it is also in His command to those who follow Him,” the pastor said, referencing Matthew 10:8, where Jesus sends out the 12 Apostles and tells them: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”