‘This Life is Only a Breath’ — Bethel Worship Leader Speaks Out After Daughter’s Tragic Death


Bethel Worship Leader Kalley Heiligenthal is choosing “triumphant thankfulness” as she enters 2020 without her young daughter, Olive, by her side.

After the 2-year-old tragically died in her sleep last month, Kalley and her husband Andrew called on the global Church to pray for resurrection. But five days after doctors had pronounced Olive dead, the couples’ desperate plea for resurrection had not gone answered in the way they had hoped.

At the end of the month, they held a funeral service for their daughter, whose name means “victorious awakening.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by kalley (@kalleyheili) on

Since saying goodbye to Olive, Kalley has opened up about what it means to begin the new year without her daughter physically here with her.

“Last night around 11:55 I felt the tension. The resistance to move into a decade without Olive,” Kalley wrote on Instagram.

She admits that it’s easy to dwell on the “searing shock” of losing her daughter so tragically. But despite the insurmountable pain that December brought upon their family, Kalley says that 2019 was also “overwhelmingly saturated with treasured memories I would never trade and will fight to cherish.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by kalley (@kalleyheili) on

“I choose tender thankfulness,” she wrote. “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.”

“There is a Heaven that is more real and vivid than what we have here and it’s pressing in on us,” the worship leader added. “Jesus is alive, Olive is alive in Him, so we press back and live fully alive too.”

Last month, several members of the Bethel Church family spoke out about how God has met them in the midst of grave tragedy.

Fellow Bethel worship leader, Jenn Johnson, took to Instagram with a post describing her feelings.

“The past two weeks I’ve been at a loss for words,” she wrote. “Four of the past five years, Brian and I have contented for life with someone on our team or family during the holidays. One lived, three died.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jenn Johnson (@jennjohnson20) on

Jenn noted that while the past two weeks have been “terrible,” the Bethel community had “felt the nearness of the Holy Spirit through it all.”

“We worshiped God for who He is together as a community. Not so He would raise her but because He’s worthy,” she said.

Her words echoed those of her grieving friend Kalley, who Jenn called a “Hero of the faith.”

“We know now more than ever that King Jesus is good and His every word is worth believing and following at any cost,” Kalley wrote on December 28th. “That’s the song we’ll sing until we’re with you again and we finally sing it together. We cannot wait.”

“It’s a new day, and we’re awake for it,” she continued. “This is a victory story.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by kalley (@kalleyheili) on

Previous article8 Reasons Why Parents Are More Exhausted Than Everyone Thinks They Should Be
Next articleDad’s Genius ‘Nap Hack’ Goes Viral for All the Right Reasons
Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of ForEveryMom.com! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!