Saturday, June 26, 2010

Technology Hiatus

I'm taking a break from blogging, facebook, etc. etc. (I will still check my e-mail otherwise taming the inbox will NOT be an easy task). We've got projects to finish, books to read, Scripture to study, and a house to find *wink*. I'm thinking one week, but maybe two?? (I doubt I can last that long, actually) I will try to keep a running list of some of the funny things that flow from Emma's mouth so I will be able to keep those coming. Anyway, just wanted to give the heads up that things are going fine, just have a lot of things that need to be accomplished. I hope that is the case!

See ya when I see ya.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

grave to grave

This flower was removed from one of the beautiful floral arrangements at Malachi's funeral and placed that same day on the grave of John's grandparents--John and Nellie Hubble. I'm sure it was a beautiful thing on 5/25/10 when Malachi met his great-grandparents in the light of our heavenly Father for the very first time.

(not to mention his baby sister--Jordan)

come again?

After picking up my sweet little angel at church, she states, "Mama, CRAPS is fun!"

translation: Crafts are fun.

Can she just stay two forever?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Completely excerpted from a series of posts on
Not surprisingly, I’ve had lots of conversations with other families who have grieved a tragedy like ours and reflected on my own experience in the past few months.

For those of you just arriving on the scene, we were expecting our second child, a daughter, to arrive somewhere around September 25, 2007. We went into the hospital on Saturday morning, September 22nd, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I hadn’t been feeling the baby move as much as I would have expected. We arrived in the triage, were hooked up to monitors and ultrasounds and told that our baby was no longer living. We delivered her that day. We named her Felicity Margaret.

It’s been six months since she left us, and I’ve had good and bad experiences since. I thought I would try to relay some of the helpful things you can do to understand and help your friends who are grieving. Of course this is all from my own experience, and I certainly am not a grief expert in any authoritative way, I just know what I’ve gone through.

So if you think this would be helpful to you now or in the future, I hope you’ll read along, think, comment, pray, and act on behalf of your friends or family members who are grieving. You can be a profound blessing to people you may not feel like you understand.

Other posts in the series:
Just know that she's exhausted.
She's a scatterbrain.
There is no timetable.
She may explode (but probably not).
She can't grieve on command.
Ask her specific questions.
Avoid the flippant comfort of Hallmark answers.
Always on my mind.
Cleaning her house is next to godliness.

How to Help a Grieving Friend

Completely excerpted from a series of posts on
Not surprisingly, I’ve had lots of conversations with other families who have grieved a tragedy like ours and reflected on my own experience in the past few months.

For those of you just arriving on the scene, we were expecting our second child, a daughter, to arrive somewhere around September 25, 2007. We went into the hospital on Saturday morning, September 22nd, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I hadn’t been feeling the baby move as much as I would have expected. We arrived in the triage, were hooked up to monitors and ultrasounds and told that our baby was no longer living. We delivered her that day. We named her Felicity Margaret.

It’s been six months since she left us, and I’ve had good and bad experiences since. I thought I would try to relay some of the helpful things you can do to understand and help your friends who are grieving. Of course this is all from my own experience, and I certainly am not a grief expert in any authoritative way, I just know what I’ve gone through.

So if you think this would be helpful to you now or in the future, I hope you’ll read along, think, comment, pray, and act on behalf of your friends or family members who are grieving. You can be a profound blessing to people you may not feel like you understand.

Other posts in the series:
Just know that she's exhausted.
She's a scatterbrain.
There is no timetable.
She may explode (but probably not).
She can't grieve on command.
Ask her specific questions.
Avoid the flippant comfort of Hallmark answers.
Always on my mind.
Cleaning her house is next to godliness.

Monday, June 21, 2010

True Woman Conference 2010

TrueWoman10: Now is the time

Just wanted to quickly recommend a conference for all you ladies (especially for you Willow Creek ladies *WINK*).

Specifically, I wanted to mention the one in Indianapolis on September 23-25.

Get more info by clicking on the logo/banner at the top of this post.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

hello (video)

Signs (video)

A rough day

Today is Father's Day. Today was also parent/baby dedication at church. John and I were caught completely off-guard. I was doing well during that actual part of the service, but as soon as the parents went back to their seats I started sobbing. I was never more thankful to be sitting in the back as I was today. I'm sure grief isn't the same for each person, but I feel like this is just how it's going to be for me and John. Good days and bad days. More and more learning our dependence is solely on our Savior.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul is talking about completely different circumstances--he was literally staring death in the face--but I think part of what he says holds true to our situation...

...but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.
(2 Cor 1:9)


Where do I start? From the very beginning Malachi has impacted my life. From the moment I got word that something was wrong to the moment I heard of his death. My prayers ranged from "please let him be ok" to "please let John and Marissa be ok" to "God, what are you doing?"

To tell you the truth, I almost wanted to "run" in the beginning. I wanted to pretend I wasn't online when you were or that I didn't have time to talk. But I resolved to stand by you and walk through the valley with you. I learned so much about what it means to bear one another's burdens. It means you don't suddenly become unavailable when being a friend becomes uncomfortable or even heart-breaking. It means you put aside the "what if I say the wrong thing?" excuse. I guess I'd say the biggest thing I learned from Chi's life was the true meaning of compassion. Am I still lacking? More than I care to admit. But I know that through the grace of God, a very naturally uncompassionate person (namely me) was able to stick with you in the valley. Did I ever look around for an escape route? Yes. Once or twice. But then I was reminded of the perfect example of selflessness, Christ on the cross, and it made my own selfishness seem so petty.

I also learned about prayer. Throughout Malachi's life I would pray for him, but time and again, the thing that God really laid on my heart to pray for was your's and John's faith. I started praying "Help them to trust You, no matter what happens." It became a prayer that I said with the girls at bedtime, as well. "Lord, Help us to trust You, no matter WHAT."
It's like your Pastor said at Chi's funeral. It's worth it. I tell that to myself now, when the road gets rough. "It's worth it." When I think of all the what-ifs now, I think "Whatever God brings into my life, it's worth it." My prayers are more focused on running the race well, on glorifying God in everything. The bad stuff is going to happen, but God has a plan and in the end, we are going to see and know fully--it's worth it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vacation Recap

Some quick snapshots from "bacation"--as Emerson put it.

A morning at the outlet mall near our hotel...

Much time spent in the pool...

A day at the zoo...
A haircut (more will be coming off in the near future)...
A day at the creation museum...
There was also a day at the waterpark, which I purposefully left the camera at the hotel. It was also nice to just spend time in our room away as a family and enjoy cable television for a week ;). Oh, and we spent an afternoon at Ikea.

All in all, it was a good trip. It was definitely nice that it was relatively close to home so we weren't spending most of our time actually getting from point A to point B.

older pics

The first thing I changed in Malachi's medical treatment after we were given our final options was to stop his twice a day Lovenox shots. His poor legs.
Malachi reached one more "milestone" before his passing... his second tooth! He beat his sister by over a month on this breakthrough ;)

Friday, June 18, 2010

This craving is brought to you by...

Seriously, it's ridiculous.

uh... what?!?!

When going through a bag of clothes, Emma put a new bra on her head.

Daddy: Emma, is that a hat?
Emma: No, it's mommy's booby thingy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I am trying to gather how your little man has impacted me. It's very hard to put that together.

One of my very best friends had a baby November 5th and little lady was put in the hospital within a week or so. They weren't sure what would happen with her because they weren't sure what was wrong. I prayed a lot for little lady and Malachi together....and their momma's and daddy's. Little lady got better and I remember thinking so much about Malachi still struggling. The month or so little lady was in the hospital tore me up. It was hard to even think about your pain. I didn't know about your blog until months later. In April when Malachi went back into the hospital we were asked to pray for you guys. I asked for more details and was given your blog. I spent hours reading through your experiences and crying and wondering how you were trusting in God the way you were. That was such a rebuke to my faith. I still have and wear my bracelet. I want to remember you guys as you continue. I want to remember this new little one. I am praying daily for you. In the end....I think Malachi has put much in perspective for me. God has a plan. He is using things for His glory. We are here for His purposes and our joy is a benefit of that, but not the end goal. His glory is the goal.

As I write this my uncle is in a hospital dying....really I am expecting a call any minute to tell me that he's gone. My aunt on the other side of my family is waiting to find out the results of a biopsy. Her cancer is probably back, and if so, its not a great outlook. These things are so difficult to think about. I am heartbroken right now. I'm trying to keep busy just to keep me from crying. When I think about Malachi and how you viewed his life, it is more than an encouragement to me.

-Nicole, MI (28)-

Thanks for being so open on your blog...even about Jordan. I often wonder about some of the stuff you posted and it gives me more info when I hear about someone having a miscarriage. I know what they may be going through and how better to pray for them.


First of all, I'd like to thank you for opening the door and allowing me the opportunity to express how your little boy's life has impacted my own life, and how I admire your bravery, strength, and faith in so many ways. Ok, I could hardly get through the first sentence before my eyes started to well up!
I stumbled upon your blog many months ago, and it really stuck out to me because of the name, actually. We had a baby girl last May, but if our baby was a boy, we were going to name him Malakai and Kai for short...I know, different spellings, but still the connection was made. I really enjoy reading birth stories, so much excitement, joy, and overwhelming feeling of love. Especially as a new mother, it allows me to relive such an important day in my life. I was taken aback by your story though as you worked so hard to find out what was going on with Malachi, especially since there was no warning or expectation for anything other than a "normal" delivery. Your story could have just as easily been my story.
Reading what you've endured over these months, I've had to remind myself that my little struggles are nothing in comparison. Of course we all have mountains to climb, but I've been impressed with the way you have graciously accepted the challenge and inspired so many with your kind heart. I think about Malachi's short time here on earth, tears coming to my eyes again, wondering how God was able to make such a strong and mighty child. But, He also made two very strong parents to help Malachi endure his journey. We must remember that we are never alone, not in this world or the next.
I don't think there is much I can say that will help stifle your own tears, and I don't think that's really what you were looking for anyway. What I can do, I hope, is help you understand the length of Malachi's reach. I've lost close loved ones in my life, but I know there's no comparison to a mother's ache for her child. I look at my daughter and wonder how I ever endured a breath without her before she was here on earth, and then I understand - our children are with us before their birth, and they are certainly here beyond this life. They are a part of us, a part of something much bigger, and one day we will see those pieces come together as the beautiful mosaic of our life unfolds.
God bless you and yours,
Illinois (28)


I knew Malachi from the day he got to Riley. I watched your journey in person and through your blog. I was mostly touched by your dedication to your son, a gift from GOD no matter what "issues" he had. It may have scared you and your husband, but you were so strong. You fought for your son, through all the ups and downs. You never gave up on Malachi or GOD. Even when your faith seemed to be a bit tested you called on GOD and that was a lesson to me. Call on GOD especially in your darkest hour. When you could have been mad at HIM and given up on your faith, you stayed true to GOD and HIS promise to you and Malachi. I know that when I don't understand "why" I tend to get angry at GOD, and you have showed me not to do that. You have strengthened my faith in HIM and my belief that HE is in charge, and HE knows what we all need, even when it doesn't make any sense to us. Malachi was a wonderful little man, and I know that he is happy and with his creator. Thank you for sharing your story, and for renewing my faith in HIS promise.

Indianapolis, Riley Hospital


You have no idea who I am, nor I you, however Malachi brought us together. I am an aunt of an 8 month old CHARGE angel who earned his wings March of last year). My sister and brother in law asked for their community of support to pray for Malachi which is when I turned to your blog. I could not stop reading and learning about your sweet boy. Your family has been through a lot, but know that you are not alone. My nephew, Josh, and Malachi have taught me so many things in their short time than I have learned in my longer lifetime...mostly life is short so experience everything you can; love so much that it hurts; saying goodbye is ok, we will meet again; losing hurts, but the hurt turns to sweet memories that you can relive over and over; knowing everything these boys went through, I can do anything; and finally-they came into our lives for a purpose-to teach, to love, to leave. There is a reason, there is a higher being. All of these things and more were taught by such a little angel boy. You have no idea who I am, nor I you, but you are in my constant thoughts and prayers-miles away-that is an impact.

(Aunt to CHARGE angel Josh)


Marissa, you may not remember me, but we met when you were pregnant with Emerson. Ever since *our mutual friend* first posted about Malachi, I have been praying for you and John. I cannot imagine what you are going through. Your story has affected me in what may seem like small ways, but they have had a big effect on my heart. I have fallen in and out of my relationship with the Lord, in subtle ways, not being in the word, or relying on God. But I have prayed for you and your family everyday, and through that I have gotten so much stronger and dedicated in my faith. Just thinking, and I know not grasping, the heartache you must feel brings me to tears. Your strength in dealing with this, and how you rejoiced that Malachi is with the Lord makes me want to be that strong of a woman and mother. You are truly an inspiration. I will continue to pray for you everyday, for your current pregnancy, and your family. I hope you know how much of an impact your family has made.

-new mom/early 20s-


Like all CHARGErs do when I first stumble upon their blogs, CHI HAD A VERY BI GIMPACT ON ME and so did your family. Let me say, if I couldn’t come on for a day and check on his progress, I wouldn’t be happy. I loved reading and seeing his photos. I admit, I did get a bit overly attached to your sweetie, but then I do this with all the CHARGErs I know and love. Every time I saw a good post, I was so happy for you all.

In the CHARGE world, there are many people that touch me, but Chi was a great person. Your love and devotion to him, your care and strength, your amazing courage, and the love of the Lord made it one hundred times better. I believe in miracles—I have had a few myself. The biggest miracle I had hoped for Chi was the thymus, but I knew that if it wasn’t meant to happen it wouldn’t.

You were always in my thoughts and dreams each day and night. I always prayed for you. I always checked your facebook and blog and still do. You are an inspiration to many, many people who stumbled upon you. Good luck with your new baby. I hope you can teach the new one about Chi and teach how to love as you and Emma and John do.

-CHARGEr, Australia (24)-


We have never met and you do not know who I am, but your son and his story has made a significant impact in my and my family's life. On November 12, 2009 my fourth child and only son was born. His name is Caden. Prior to his birth we knew he had a bilateral cleft lip but we were assured by extensive testing that there appeared to be nothing else wrong. When he was born things start to unravel in a really scary direction. We were informed that he had some heart issues, kidney issues, needed a g-tube for feeding because of swallowing difficulties and he was deaf. My husband and I were devastated. We were prepared to deal with the cleft, but we were so overwhelmed by his encompassing diagnosis.

I did some research on my own and learned about CHARGE, a syndrome I had never heard of before. He wasn't officially diagnosed, yet, but I needed to get some answers. I came across your blog through the CHARGE listserv. Learning about Malachi and seeing you and your husband's amazing faith and dedication to your son gave ME the strength to walk through this uncertain journey. I would say to myself, "If they can do it, then I can do it." The "they" was you and your husband.

Weekly I would check in on your family to see how things were going, and many times I was brought to tears. I talked about Malachi and your family to my family and we prayed for him, too. I so admired your family's commitment to your son and all of his needs. When I was unsure how to raise our own special needs son, I would think about how you were just wanting to take your son home. Our son spent six weeks in the NICU. It felt like eternity, but I knew you had been on the journey much longer.

You and your story inspired me to start my own blog; It has been an open journal for me that has helped to push me forward.

When Malachi passed I was so sad. I truly felt so connected to him and your family. Malachi seemed like a "brother" in some ways to our son. When I had days that I was down and depressed about our situation I dug deeper and part of that was because of your son's life. I related to so much of what you were going through. The surgeries, fears, unanswered questions, the undying mother's love. Your son was blessed to have such a devoted family.

I think of your family often. I know Malachi is watching over all of you with a big smile on his sweet face. His life was a true blessing to us and our son. It gave us the strength to carry on.

-fellow CHARGE mom-


I grew up in a family that wasn’t all that religious. Don’t get me wrong, they are good people. They believe in the Lord, would help someone in need, and for the most part live by His word. Church has never been an every week occurrence. We were required to go to Sunday school and confirmation class, but that was it. Church was for Easter and Christmas. Prayer was never said.

I am now 32 years old (with a birthday February 25 *same as me*), married with 2 kids, Grace-3 years old and Calvin-21 months old, and could count on two hands how many times I had gone to church in the last 12 years: when I got married, sister got married, brother got married, Grace was baptized, Calvin was baptized-you get the idea. My Bible had not been touched since the day that I received it at confirmation.

After reading about Malachi and the strength that your family had, all due to the Lord, it inspired me to go to church. I longed for the comfort and strength that you were getting from the Lord. After reading your posts, it made me wonder what the purpose of my life was. Your posts made me step back from myself and realize how sad, lonely, and empty I was. I had been working so hard for so long for “stuff” that, in actuality, means absolutely nothing. I wanted what you had-the strength, the comfort, the purpose, what I always believed to be self-confidence, but in actuality is just faith.

The first time I went to church, about four months ago, the message was One More Step. He told us how the average person needs 8-10 exposures/steps with religion before they desire to find the Lord. He was urging all of us to be one step for someone else. If all Christians could work together and continue being steps for others, they would all add up and we may help more people climb those 8-10 steps and find the Lord.

The strength and sheer belief in the Lord that your family and Malachi have shown over the last 7 months have been many of my steps. I now do not miss church on Sunday and neither do Grace or Calvin. I have started reading the Bible and even have favorite Bible verses that keep me going. My husband is not in the same place as I when it comes to being a Christian, but he is coming around, slowly starting to pray and go to church with us. (He will do anything for those 2 kids.) Now that I have found the Lord, I am feeling more at peace with my life. I feel comforted and not alone. I am finally finding what you had found long ago. It is fun to see Grace want to pray and to be able to say the Lord’s prayer. I think of you guys, with thanks, when she, out of nowhere, tells me “God made those trees. God made everything.” Calvin, with his little hands smashed together, will not let Grandpa or Grandma eat until “Pray, pray, pray, Papa, Grandma pray.”

I am so fortunate that I was drawn to your post on the CS forums. Without having “known” you or Malachi, I would not know the Lord, nor would Grace or Calvin have known of His presence. Seven months ago, I never would have even thought about taking time out of my life to pack food for children in Honduras, participate in Meals-on-Wheels, or give back. I now know that I have a purpose to be someone else’s step, to give to others, and to live my life according to his Word. I am so happy with who I have started to become over the last four months.

I have shed many, many tears for you and Malachi over the last seven months and you have continually been in my prayers. I will continue to pray for the Lord to grant you peace and help you get through this life so that you may see Malachi again in the future. I ask that you pray for me-yeah, I know, it sounds selfish to ask someone who has lost a child and is suffering the greatest loss of all to pray for me- but, I ask that you pray that I continue to keep opening my heart to the Lord and allowing him into my heart and letting him be in control of my life and trusting in Him.

You might not have been able to be missionaries in China, but you have been spreading His Word right here in your own backyard. Thank you; you have given me eternal life.


Our first daughter was born at the end of July. Five hours after her birth I was taken to surgery for a D&C due to the fact that I was hemorrhaging. The D&C turned into a hysterectomy when they could not get the bleeding to stop. I was only 21 at the time dreaming of a big family. It was crushing to loose my ability to have children. Your blog and Malachi's story have been an inspiration to me. I constantly talk about little Malachi. My husband was hearing about "wow, Malachi was back in the hospital again." Or sees the excitement when "He's HOME!" Malachi became a common name in our house as if he had been a child of a friend at church. Your story became as real to me as those I'm closest to. Much of my hurt and loss paled as I read more. When I struggled I thought about your everyday heart ache and pain and stress. I kept thinking about I can do it today because I know she is. Malachi was such a strong fighter. Thank you to you and John for fighting for your son and your family. You have touched many.



You are right, Malachi made a big impact on more people's lives than you will ever know. For me it was mainly to go give my little ones an extra little hug. I cannot tell you how many times I read Malachi's blog and then would just go cuddle my boys. Also, in the middle of the night when I have gotten up for the 10th time with my boys, Malachi came to mind often to remind me that it is a blessing to get up with these children and not a burden, well mostly you reminded me of that, Marissa. Our children are never burdens and each of them have a purpose. I wrote this blog post the day I learned that Malachi passed away. It can't even begin to describe the impact Malachi made on our family, but thought I would share. When we would pray as a family and my 3 year old would say please bless baby Malachi, it was priceless. Thanks for sharing his journey with us.


16 weeks

weight: 160
BP: 117/70
baby HR: 150 and strong
baby activity: moving all over the place, it would be nice to feel though.

Overall, it was a pretty uneventful visit besides the minibreakdown when the doctor optimistically asked how Malachi was doing. It's much easier to type "my son has died" than to say out loud.

a week

did you miss me? okay, probably not, but i'll pretend that my absence was noticed.

it's definitely been a week of ups and downs. good days and bad days and then really bad days.

we are surviving. it is a battle, but we are surviving.

i'm finding it hard to think things through or to focus on a project to see it through its completion. cloudiness and forgetfulness definitely set in at times.

it's hard to be in placed with big groups. especially church. small groups are easier, but still awkward.

there is something missing at home. i don't like living here. we moved to this apartment two weeks before chi was born and our dining room was set up as his home ICU unit. i want to be out of here and in a house--we're trying not to make any rash decisions.

so much to do around the house. i'd ask for help, people have offered; but i like the little feeling of accomplishment in my domestic duties. something i have control over. wanting to fall into a sense of normalcy.

john and i aren't really sure how to "handle" this grief. it's not like a constant cloud hanging over us, but rather just tides of emotion that knock us off our feet every now and then. just kind of going day by day right now.

but that's where we are, for now...


If I have the TV on during the day while Emerson and I are at home and I am watching something that doesn't exactly pique her interest, she will cuddle right up and almost bat her eyes at me while saying, "Mommy, this is not an emma-sized show." (in hopes that I will appease her and change the channel).

this "emma-sized" saying has also translated to other areas (books, games, activities, etc.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

too cute

it's a video. if you get this in email form, go to to view it.


My son was born at 4:12 a.m. on 10/27/09. I wept when your son passed away. My husband also felt connected to your story. I debated whether or not to tell you that for fear that it might make you wonder why God allowed this to happen to your son and not mine. I wish I knew. I know we don't have all of the answers but thankfully God is sovereign.

Your story has encouraged me in so many ways. Most importantly is not to take anything for granted and to live each day as if it were my last. I know there will be days when I am frustrated with our son, but having him in my life is worth all of it.

Malachi did not live or die in vain. I promise to raise my son to know and serve our Lord. Maybe someday in Heaven they will meet and share a chat since they have the same birthday. :)

May He grant you peace that far surpasses your understanding. I still think of you and pray for you all often when I see the bracelet my mom got for me from you.

-From a sister in Christ (Ohio)-

Saturday, June 12, 2010

couple quick pics

I love that for only a VERY brief moment, Emma saw the tubes and equipment which Malachi depended on for his every breath and means of nutrition. She quickly, quickly taught me a lesson in unconditional love. Her love for Malachi never ceased to amaze me. She was proud to be his big sister and to have him as her baby brother.

(pic taken Mother's Day 2010)

Another mother's day pic taken while Miss was posing for pictures on her windowsill. Can you really go wrong with toddler skirts and leggings... I will miss this.


Hey. Your journey has impacted me and showed me that I should appreciate everything I have and not take it for granted. We have something great in our lives but we never know when it will be taken away. After finding that he passed it really opened my eyes to God and that He gives and takes. I wish I could of met him!

-Iowa teen-

lost in translation

I kissed Emma really hard on the cheek and said "k. Now you give daddy a big smackeroo!". She turned and hit him as hard as she could on his back! Guess I needed to be clearer.

Friday, June 11, 2010


We have never met but I stumbled upon your blog (a total God thing) around December, shortly after Malachi was born. I quickly read your entire blog from the beginning. I was pregnant with our third baby so I was very hormonal and cried easily over anything and everything. Needless to say, I was in tears reading your blog and just could not get little Malachi out of my head. I also told my husband your story and followed with "I pray we never have to deal with anything like this." Everything was going well with my pregnancy, I was nauseated and tired, so I knew from my previous babies that everything was going how it should.

Well, I went in for my 13-week check-up and the doctor could not find the heartbeat. I was sent to the hospital for an ultrasound and was faced with the quiet ultrasound tech—who would not answer any questions and told me the doctor will give me the results. I was later told that the baby measured 10 weeks and I should expect to lose the baby in the next week or so. I had the option to have a D&C or miscarry naturally. I chose the natural way, in my mind I was really hoping and praying that they made a mistake and my baby was still alive and well. I still felt very pregnant, I was gaining weight, still tired, and still nauseous.

Three weeks later in the middle of the night I started having strong contractions and about an hour later my 10-week baby was born. I have had one other miscarriage before this one but never seen the baby like I did with this one. I/we were heartbroken for our loss. And to tell you the truth I wondered why God would allow something like this to happen. Why even let me get pregnant if You’re just going to take it away from me? I know in my heart that He was also heartbroken for our loss.

But I really do think He was leading me to your blog. Had I not been pregnant I never would have been on the internet looking up "pregnancy" or "baby". I kept reading your blog and was so impressed and inspired with your faith and love for Christ. I grew up in the church and attend church regularly but still something was missing. I quickly learned that I wasn't letting God in like I needed to; I had always called myself a Christian but was really lacking in putting all of my trust in Him. I was trying so hard to do it all by myself and felt like such a failure. I have no doubt in my mind that God put Malachi in the hands of you and your husband because you were the absolute right parents for him. And He knew that your testimony would bring more people to Christ—including myself. I can't thank you enough for the awesome testimony and your reminders of who is in charge of this life we lead. Little Malachi sure has opened my eyes and my heart and for that I am grateful.

-New Sister in Christ, 28 (Indiana)-

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Emma just "passed gas" and said with a smile, "I Tooty Magee"

a sponge

Emma will pick up her imaginary camera, bring it to her face, and state "Everybody say 'Awkward'."

John and I had no clue where she had gotten that from, UNTIL we saw the new progressive insurance commercial.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Little Man:Big Impact

Okay, friends and strangers alike who have followed us for the last seven months of our lives. I need your help and I need your input. John and I know in our hearts that Malachi's life, death, and eternal life were "worth it," but we would also like to know with our minds the tangible ways in which that played out. Here's where you come in.

If our journey has impacted or influenced you in ANY way, please e-mail me at marissasharbaugh(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject heading "Malachi". It doesn't matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you, to us it will mean everything. Really, it can be anything!

Also, please note in your e-mail if it would be okay for me to use your story either on this blog or in scrapbooks that I plan to make in memory of our little man. If they are used in either of these ways and names are mentioned, I will change them out of respect to your privacy. Again, these will only be used with your permission. So just let us know!

Thank you in advance. I look forward to hearing and sharing with you how our son's short time here on earth made a great impact on eternity.

**Edited to add**
Also, if you are okay with me using your story, please include your age and state where you live if that's alright! Thank you so much!


Emerson is amazing (usually). When in the right mood, she will try to do ANYTHING to make her mama happy--especially when she knows I'm sad. She has been sick since we got home from "vacation". Because of said sickness, I stayed home with her from church on Sunday. I don't know if it was just being in this apartment or the fact that John was away or just seeing all of the Malachi reminders around me (probably a combination of all the above) that I was to say the least tearful. John called after the church service to see how things were going and that just opened up the floodgates. Emma was concerned.

"Mama, why are you sad?"
Mommy just wants baby Chi to be home, sweetie.
"It's okay, mama."
You're right, sweetie. Mommy just misses Malachi.
"Okay, me and daddy will go get him and bring him home for you."

Is she not the sweetest little girl you've ever met? So thankful that she was a part of our lives as we continue to endure this trial.

The rest of the week has gone okay. I'm learning that I'm not very comfortable to be in places with lots of people (which should make church interesting next week). I'm learning that I never know when it's appropriate or just flat out annoying to others to bring up Malachi in conversation. I'm learning that it's hard for me to cry in front of others because I'm worried about making them uncomfortable. I think the hardest thing I'm learning is that frankly I have no clue how to handle a trial of this magnitude by myself. For that, I am thankful for my savior as well as for my husband. Without them, I would be lost.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

home is harder

Well, we made it back from vacation in one piece--always a good thing. A week away was wonderful, but now reality sets in. We didn't want to come home. Its just weird that life goes on for everyone else and we're left with a huge gaping hole. No more daily trips to the hospital. No more nursing shifts for John and I at home. No more Malachi--for now, anyway.

Monday will be hard. John will have to go back to work. I will be home with Emma. I'm thinking it will take a while to find the middle ground between wanting to do absolutely nothing and wanting to keep myself completely occupied so as to stay distracted from life. I know that's not where I should be, but that's where I want to be. I don't want to move on. I don't want to think about life without my son.

For now, we hold on to the strength and peace and comfort that God is so abundantly providing--praying, it continues.

(listen here)
Savior, please take my hand
I work so hard, I live so fast
This life begins, and then it ends
And I do the best that I can, but I don't know how long I'll last

I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please help me stand
I fall so hard, I fade so fast
Will You begin right where I end
And be the God of all I am because You're all I have

Everything You are to me
Is everything I'll ever need
And I am learning to believe
That I don't have to prove a thing
'Cause You're the one who's saving me

Savior, Please by Josh Wilson

Giveaway Winner

Congrats to our NICU neighbor Kim for winning a free copy of The Last Christian!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Emma's Songs

Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man (who climbed up in the SACKamore tree)
Give Me That Old Time "Wiggin" (it's good enough for me, yes SIR)
ABCs (normal way and Super Why/Alpha Pig way)
Jesus Loves Me
I'm in the Lord's Army (she actually sings the words infantry, calvary, artillery)
If You're Happy and You Know It
Deep and Wide
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Hey, Diddle, Diddle
Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes
... and others.

Emma asked if we could sing the "Allie" song. I was confused..."You know, mom. The B-I-B-Allie" :)

Funeral Message

Pastor Jeff Tague gave this message at Malachi's funeral. Absolutely perfect.

We’re here today because of Malachi.

Malachi S. Sharbaugh, 6 months, passed away May 25, 2010. He was born Oct. 27, 2009 to his parents John D. & Marissa K. Sukut Sharbaugh in Indianapolis, Indiana. Besides his parents, he is survived by a sister, Emerson G. Sharbaugh; grandparents Norm & Teri Sharbaugh, Russ & Karla Sukut, and Kathy Sukut; great-grandparents Robert & Elaine Andresen and Leroy Pfeifle; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

We’re here today because of Malachi—he’s the reason.

But we’re here today for God and His glory—He’s the purpose. And His glory is bound up with and in His love and grace for us, and then the resulting blessing, help, comfort, and good to us.

Now the comfort, the help we need today is not superficial. Superficial answers to our hearts’ cries produce shallow faith. No, we need careful, thoughtful, and biblical answers—Why did this happen? What is God doing? This is hard. If it’s not hard for you, then you’re not thinking. And I want to challenge you to think. I know my head is spinning, but we can find answers today. While they may not be thorough or specific answers, they can be meaningful, helpful, and satisfying answers to hard questions.

1. Malachi is a reward, not a punishment. In John 9 Jesus’ disciples encounter a man who was born blind. They ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus’ response? “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Malachi’s struggles are the result of being born in a sinful world; but that’s very different from being punishment for personal sin. No, Malachi is a blessing, a reward, not a punishment, a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127). And I deliberately say “is,” not “was.” John and Marissa have 4 kids, 2 here and 2 in heaven. In Job 42 God blessed Job with “twice as much as he had before.” Seven thousand sheep became 14,000. Three thousand camels became 6,000. Five hundred yoke of oxen became 1,000. Though he had 10 kids before, he only had 10 more children born afterward; but on the authority of God’s Word, he had twice as much as he had before. That means he still had 20 kids, even after 10 of them had died.

Malachi IS a reward, not a punishment.

2. Malachi serves as a warning from God to us. Luke 13:1-5 says, “There were present at that season some who had told Him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’” While Malachi’s story is difficult and sad, the tragedy is not just that he died—we’re all going to die. Malachi reminds us of the brevity of all life, and of the awful certainty of death. It is an enemy, but it is an enemy that Christ will destroy some day (1 Cor. 15). This is God’s warning to us—be ready. Prepare to meet your God. That’s not the raving of some lunatic with a sandwich board downtown somewhere. It is the gracious warning of God through His prophet Amos in the Bible. And Malachi was ready, not because he was an “innocent baby.” He, like the very best of us, was a sinner in need of a Savior. He was a precious, beautiful baby. And if he needs a Savior, so do you! He was by nature a child of wrath, born in sin, conceived in iniquity. “But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one—not even a beautiful baby like Malachi—no one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus makes that statement on the eve of His death on the cross. He also said, “Let not you hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know….I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:1-6). Though good men who love the Lord disagree, I think that when Jesus said He was going to prepare a place, He was talking about the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is the preparation Jesus made so that we can go to be with Him forever. It’s all about the cross. That is where Jesus died in the place of sinners. He was our substitute. He took what we deserve because of our sin against God, and He died that on the cross so that we can have what He deserves—a relationship with God and a home in heaven. He is the only One who has ever lived who did not deserve to be on that cross, because He is the only One who has ever lived who never sinned! Jesus is the only way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. He is the way for Malachi, and He is the way for you. The only difference is that you have the opportunity and the responsibility to respond to this message with faith. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Trust Him. Embrace Him as your only hope.

3. Malachi’s life and death are worth it. I’m not making that statement carelessly, coldly, or superficially. I know that it’s one thing to hear that God does have a purpose for Malachi’s sufferings, and it’s another thing to say that that purpose is worth it. I did not feel that it was worth it Wednesday night. Pastor Mark made a statement that our church would be a different church had it not been for the last 7 months. I think that’s true, but I sat right back there and wondered if it was really worth the death of a child. John and Marissa have been exemplary in their responses and godliness, but they may have times when they don’t feel that it’s worth it. But I still make that statement confidently—Malachi’s life and death are worth it—and here’s why. I know that I, and dozens of others like me, have been touched and helped by Malachi’s sufferings: his prayer life grew, her faith increased, their ability to endure their own trials was bolstered. I’m also hopeful and prayerful that there will be some who are saved as a direct result of Malachi’s suffering. So let’s suppose that one day one of us meets Malachi in heaven. Let’s say it’s me. I go up to Malachi and say, “Malachi, I was helped because of your suffering, but it seems so extreme. I feel guilty that you had to go through what you did so that I could be helped. Let me ask you, was it worth it?” Malachi might smile and say something like this: “Worth it? The sufferings of those 7 months are not worth comparing to the glory being revealed.” And then John and Marissa might step up behind him and say, “Our light affliction, which was but for a moment, was working for us and for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. God is our glory, and He’s worth it. Jesus is our glory, and He’s worth it. And even you are our glory, our crown, and you are worth it!”

And as wonderful as that may be, their faces will not be the first you want to see. For the God who graciously planned the life and death of John and Marissa’s son, first planned the life and death of His own Son. He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. He demonstrates His love toward us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. And if we were to meet Him and say, “Jesus, I’m saved because of Your suffering and death, but it seems so extreme. Was it worth it?” Jesus will grab us up in His loving arms and say, “My child, I endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Me. You are that joy. There’s joy in the presence of the angels—and that’s My joy—when one sinner repents.”

Closing prayer—Job 1:21; Psalm 90