Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giving Up Your Rights

This article in The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter puts forth many rights that most of us as individuals feel we deserve. Those of us who are true Christians are called to Christlikeness which includes the responsibility to lay aside the following "rights":

• the right to take revenge (Romans 12:19-20)
• the right to have a comfortable, secure home (Luke 9:57-58)
• the right to a good reputation (Matthew 5:11)
• the right to spend money however we please (Matthew 6:19-21)
• the right to hate an enemy (Matthew 5:43-47)
• the right to be honored and served (Mark 10:42-47)
• the right to understand God’s plan before we obey (Hebrews 11:8)
• the right to live by our own rules (John 14:23-24)
• the right to hold a grudge (Colossians 3:13)
• the right to “fit into” society (Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:10)
• the right to do whatever feels good (Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 4:2)
• the right to complain (Philippians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
• the right to put self first (Philippians 2:3-4)
• the right to express one’s sexuality freely (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
• the right to rebel against authority (1 Peter 2:13-15)
• the right to sue another believer (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
• the right to end a disappointing marriage (Matthew 5:31-32)

Wish me luck. I have a LONG way to go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

busy, busy, busy!

Does anybody else feel like the month of July has just flown by and gone almost unnoticed!?! Between family, family, and more family, starting to pack up, house searching, getting back into the groove with church, and just trying to catch up with neglected friends--there is minimal time for blogging!

I have begun reading through the Bible chronologically. In 2009, I followed along with others in our church with the read-through-your-Bible-in-a-year program. Ashamedly, this is the first time I read through the Bible in a systematic manner (not counting when it was assigned as class work for Faith). What a blessing! At this point, I have read through the books of Genesis and Job. The following is a snippet from an entry in my notebook after reading a passage beginning with Job 23:8 which I titled "A prayer, a goal a mission..."

Even though I can't "feel" God around me, He is there and knows my thoughts, words, and actions. If I successfully lean on Him and keep His commands through this test, I will be refined and come out as gold. But I must keep His way and not turn aside. I must treasure the words of His mouth more than food. God knows His plans for me and He will complete that work within me.

I am so thankful for the education I received at Faith Baptist Bible College and the foundation in Biblical studies and understanding that was provided to me. Going through something like the birth, life, and loss of Malachi would simply be unbearable without the knowledge of the perfect God I am blessed to serve. Even though there were many points where I lacked (and still do lack) understanding of why all of this had to take place in my life and how it will lead to His glory, I was able to hold on to that knowledge. I was generally able to fight off misguided thoughts and push aside untruths that haunted practically every moment spent next to Malachi's hospital bed. Even though I felt lost, confused, helpless, and scared, I was not without hope. The Holy Spirit was quick to remind me that we were not in this struggle alone. It is not an easy road that John and I have been called to, but it is a calling. We know that this suffering--if properly kept in its place and used to pursue a closer relationship with the God who created and sustained our son for almost seven months--will continue to refine us. With each test and trial, we have the opportunity to experience God's grace in ways that many people just can't understand. For that grace, I am thankful.

He Giveth More Grace
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Friday, July 23, 2010

heat advisory

apparently emma wants to get out of the house today....

"mama, lets go to some GARAGE sales..."

"Sweets, it's too hot to go outside today."

"Well.... what about the LIBRARY??"

Monday, July 19, 2010


You don't know me personally and I have never met you personally. I am a nurse, by profession, and therefore interested in the medical aspect of Malachi's life, but more importantly, because of being a first-time mom. My son, Liam was born on September 24, 2009, and therefore was close in age to Malachi. As I read your posts, I often became choked up realizing how blessed I am to have a healthy son. It was an extremely sobering experience for me to put myself in your shoes and imagine how hard those decisions that you had to make constantly regarding Malachi's care must have been. Your faith rang strong and was an example that I appreciated. (My husband and I also have the same anniversary and were young when we got married too and therefore I felt even more connected/similar to you).

Thank you for constantly sharing, being vulnerable and open about your struggles and how you came through them. I grew up Christian, but have been struggling with questioning my faith over the last couple years. Reading about Malachi's life and the way that your faith sustained you has definitely played in to keeping me hanging on to my faith until now. Thank you for sharing that.

On a side note, as a nurse, I cannot even begin to imagine how you were able to care for Malachi at home so well. I am so glad that I could read your perspective because I know that I will now treat families/patients differently. I will never question a responsible parent/family nor doubt that they will be able to care for their sick child, if they are desiring to. I'm inspired by your willingness and eagerness to have Malachi home...just to see/hear about parents that WANT their children and are willing to deal with everything that may come with complex care...are amazing to me! You are an amazing woman and I know God is looking down from heaven and smiling upon you and your husband. You have certainly passed this test from Him with flying colors!

Thank you for sharing about your experiences. I pray that your current pregnancy will go well and you will be blessed with a healthy and happy baby this fall!
Esther, Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How do you feel about this next baby being a boy?

Before the ultrasound, I was completely against the idea of having a boy--you know, because I can control these things. When John and I would start throwing around name ideas, I didn't even want to think about boys names. It just wasn't going to be a boy.

HOWEVER.... the moment we saw that it was so clearly evident that baby #4 is a boy, it just felt right. I thank God for that peace. I think my husband was worried. He, on the other hand, was completely thrilled that he was now 4 for 4 on gender predictions. I know, he's awesome.

I really wish, actually, that I could blame my current mood/funk/rut on that. But I can't. Suffering definitely hurts, but I most certainly am not suffering in a God-honoring way. Right now, I don't pray, I don't praise, I shut down, I get impatient, I am easily frustrated, I raise my voice, I am easily irritated.... the list goes on.

Suffering is a part of life. Up until this point, however, I just haven't had to REALLY stare it down. It's hard. In my head, I know that the ONLY way for me to overcome this with any sense of grace or joy I must lean completely, utterly, whole-heartedly on my Father in heaven. Now if only I could snap my fingers and just make it work that way. Instead, I fight it. I want to just waste my days and "avoid God."

I am thankful that Christ has paid for my sins and removed my guilt so that I am His. Because I am His, He has promised to NEVER leave me or forsake me. Even if I can't "feel" His presence, the Holy Spirit is within me and continues to tug and pull and give me the desire to know God and rest in Him even when nothing seems to make sense. I am thankful for each new day and the chance to start anew--a chance none of us really deserve.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I miss you.


bracelets--last chance

So, in retrospect I probably shouldn't have ordered as many bracelets as I did. I was really planning that people would show their support throughout the many surgeries and hospitalizations he was sure to face due to all of his medical complications. Instead, I have what seems like a bazillion leftover.

SO, this is a last chance order for any of you who would like to have something tangible to remember our sweet baby Malachi. They can be worn, placed around a pencil jar, hung around a doorknob, or even just be something something you get out once a year and hang on your Christmas tree to remind you that God's way may not be the easiest, but it surely is the best way.

Ordering instructions are here--believe me, it's super easy ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

drum roll please....

Well, there ya have it, folks. There's no denying. Our growing baby is definitely, most assuredly... a BOY!

20-week visit

Had a great visit at the doctor's office today...

Quick numbers:
BP: 110/70
weight: 164 (total gain of 9/up 4 from l16-week visit)
baby HR: 147 and strong
baby activity: starting to feel more consistent movement.

ultrasound pics to come... can you handle the suspense?

ultrasound today

i told emma we need to take an early nap so we can go to mommy's doctor appointment and see the baby this afternoon.... "it growed!?!" yep, sweetie. "and we get to open your belly!!!"... um, no, just see the baby on the TV.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boy or girl?

Leave a comment with your prediction!

Hopefully baby will cooperate on Monday *wink*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Not really sure where I left off, so I will just summarize the last couple weeks and pick up with today.

We have definitely spent a lot of time with family in the recent days. For that I am thankful. I have family leaving for Mexico in a matter of weeks (, so we have made a conscious effort to spend some quality time with them as a family--and just as a couple. We also had family in from Michigan whom we enjoyed visiting. Then we made a quick July 4th getaway to Iowa to visit my immediate family members as well as our Iowa church family. And now, we have family up from Florida and more family coming in this week from Utah. Not to mention the Sharbaugh/Parsons family reunion we have coming up this weekend. I told you, much time has been and will continue to be spent with family in the upcoming days.

In the midst of all this family time, we have also begun to search for a house. We are thankful to have been able to get out of our lease without penalty and start this process. We have no clue what God has for store in us for the next few weeks--let alone the next few years--so for now, we will just stick to the west side of Indianapolis and try to find a sense of normalcy in our lives.

Today, however, had a few interesting moments to say the least. My sister-in-law and I were checking out at Kohls. Because I clearly look pregnant, the lady at the register asked me when I was due. "Oh, not 'til Thanksgiving actually. Almost 20 weeks!" To which she replied, "And is this your first?" A million thoughts racing through my mind as I feel warmth pulsating through my cheeks, "My fourth, actually." "Oh, bless your heart. So do you have both genders?" For whatever reason, I followed that comment with an awkward laugh--I just don't know how to respond. People in our culture generally do not want the upcoming information to be laid upon them from a stranger. "Well... I have a two-year-old little girl and we just lost our son." Instant look of pity falls on the face of this unsuspecting cashier.... that inevitable look of pity and sadness. "You poor thing..." and a few other mutterings which I am unable to recall as at that point, I was quickly looking for the exit. Frankly, I just don't know how to respond to people that come with the inevitable questions one is asked when they are pregnant. Whether it be the mail-lady, the cashier, the neighbor I met at the pool, it just doesn't feel like there is a "right" answer.

Lastly, I would really like to try to truly put into words how hard tonight was, but I really don't think that's possible, so you'll pretty much just get the facts. We received the disc (with the professional pictures taken at the hospital before we said goodbye to Malachi) a short week or so after the funeral. Not going to lie, I was scared to open them. It's hard to see pictures of my baby--even happy pictures. I honestly cannot begin to describe the emotions, thoughts, and feelings flooding my very being as I went through them. Thankfully, John was home. He saw that I was lost in thought and the tears streaming down my face. As soon as he came over by my side, the floodgates opened. I mean uncontrollable sobbing. Crying so hard that it hurt. My breathing was completely out of sync. John could do nothing but hold me and try to coach my breathing. It's not the first time I've broken down in tears since Malachi's funeral, but it was definitely the worst--at it was horrible. You just can't explain the hurt that a mother feels when she no longer gets to hold her baby or kiss him goodnight--but instead had no choice but to kiss him goodbye. Before I become a blubbering mess again, I will end this post. I should get to bed anyway. Good night.

so true...

Malachi Stephen Sharbaugh, you are missed. So much. So very, very much.