Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Year...

One year ago today Malachi Stephen Sharbaugh was born into our world. Many of you know his story. I would be sadly mistaken if I thought I could sum up what this past year has been like in a brief blog post. I wish I could tell you that our family is doing really well. I wish I could tell you that life has basically returned to normal in this Sharbaugh household. I wish I could actually put into words how utterly lost we feel sometimes thinking about the what's and the why's of these past months. I wish I could explain to you how I feel when I hear someone ask how he is doing not really aware of what has happened. I wish I could say something to a wife who is still grieving that would make her feel better. I wish I could have counted how many tears were shed for one small child. I wish I could understand what my God was really thinking and doing when he allowed my son to live in so much pain for 7 months and survive so many surgeries and hardships and let his parents get so attached to him just to take him from us. I wish I could understand it all myself. I can't... 

But I also wish I could fully describe to you the impact Malachi has made in this past year. I wish I could list off one by one the people who have been touched and lives that have been impacted. I wish I could list off the amount of prayers that people prayed possible for the first time because of this small like child. I wish i knew the amount of people that decided to open up the Word of God and see what was written that maybe hadn't touched it for quite some time. I wish I could explain the joy I hear when my little girl corrects someone when they say she is going to be a big sister, and she explains that she already is one. She informs them she has a little brother name Malachi in Heaven. I wish I could relay the jealousy I have for my son Malachi. My son, who will never know any more pain, sadness, hate, disappointment, sickness, or loneliness ever again has seen the face of my Savior. He in his brand new perfect body has had the opportunity to walk and talk with those who we named him after. He has been able to do things and understand things that we wont ever be able while here on earth. Any sorrow I have is for me and my family NOT HIM. My son has seen what we all should live for. I am not talking about Heaven. I am talking about Christ. Why hope? Why hope that somehow I will ever be good enough to be where my son is now. Why think that the same fool who sins every day would ever do enough to merit the love, grace, and mercy of a perfect God. My hope is in CHRIST! I don't long for heaven or being able to see my son again someday. I long for Christ. Don't get me wrong I miss my son. It still hurts at times. Many times actually. All those things I wrote about earlier are true. I don't really get all that has happened this past year. I might never know. I don't really even know if I will when I get to heaven. I want to see my son but that shouldn't be what drives me. I should be striving always for the only good and perfect goal, Christ! I am sure that this may not make sense to some of you. But I ask you... why do you even get out of bed in the morning if all you have to look forward to is this world? Look at what this world has to offer you. I would plead with you but it isn't my place to change those of you who haven't trusted Christ. I do pray for you. Thinking about Chi is probably harder on you than it is for my family and me. So many questions would haunt me ever waking moment if I hadn't been saved from my wretched filthy sin and given eternal life to spend with my Savior. I still wonder about them. But God is so good. I wish I could explain to you how good He is but I don't fully know myself. Glimpses I see sustain me until I get to be with Him and see my hope and joy face to face.

One year ago my son was born into this place broken and 5 months and 2 days ago he woke up in a different place Perfect. I can say without any doubt that I learned more from him that I could have ever taught him if I had been allowed to see him grow up. I thank God for the time we had and for privileging my wife and I had as stewards over that precious little one while he was in our hands here on Earth. I praise the Lord that he is taking care of both him and us even now.  I wish I could explain why everything that has happened over the last year happened. I can't... But I know the Author and finisher of my faith. In Him is my hope. I know I will see my son again someday. I will probably run up to him and hug him but not before I have run up and flung myself into the loving and wonderful arms of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, October 25, 2010

5 months ago...

...we said goodbye to our baby boy. Selfishly, I still want him back. Malachi never made things easy for this mama, but most goodbyes are rarely easy.  It's hard for me to see that I'm a completely different person than I was one year ago--mostly, because change has come on little by little with each passing day.  I have been challenged and I most certainly have been stretched. I can only imagine that I'm different now. 

I am thankful that I can look back on the last year without regret.  Okay, obviously there are things I wish I could change about what I said or did or decisions that had to be made, but I am definitely at peace and thankful that I am not currently plagued with guilt when it comes to anything surrounding Malachi. 

I have found it much more difficult in the months following Malachi's passing than I did when we were struggling alongside him at the hospital.  At the hospital, I could literally feel the prayers of other believers being lifted up and God answering those prayers with strength and clarity of thought for John and myself. It seems that the "real" testing of my faith has come in the last five months. Since our goodbyes, God's presence just hasn't felt so apparent. I say that my faith has been tested because I am forced to trust in God's Word and His promises.  No matter how "alone" I feel, I know that my God is very real, very alive, and an ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1).

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

May Your unfailing love be my comfort...
Psalm 119:76

So please, if you are a believer, pray for us this week especially. Our heartache is great and we are weak in and of ourselves. The pain is still very real and a part of our family is missing.  Thank you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What In The World Is Going On? (Dr. David Jeremiah)

Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor at a church in California.  This book has come as a result of a study he preached through regarding end times (eschatology) as they are described in the Bible.  Laid out in an easy-to-read format, Dr. Jeremiah spells out ten scriptural prophecies concerning this topic and how current events truly fit into these descriptions as they were told many, many years ago.

I found this book to be much more interesting than I had originally anticipated.  In fact, the book sat on my bedside table for over two months before I got around to reading it.  However, when I dug in, I found that it was actually very intriguing and made my way through it in a matter of just a few days. He made me think, and I was challenged to take a more in-depth look at how where we are as a society, as a nation, fits into the grand scheme of things. For anyone looking for a reader-friendly, lay-person knowledge of the Biblical prophecies regarding the end-times, this is the book for you.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I need to mention that Booksneeze has provided mewith a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

34 weeks...

 The quick stats:
BP: 118/70
weight: 185 (total gain of 30/up 2 from 32-week visit)
abdomen: 38 cm (yep, now measuring FOUR WEEKS ahead)
baby HR: 150
baby activity: TONS of consistent movement. daily bouts of hiccups.

*easy way to avoid the double-chin look: place the camera in front of your ENTIRE face when taking a pic of yourself in the mirror ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


there was a commercial on for lindor truffles and they asked "do you dream in chocolate?"  emma replied, "no, i dream in bed."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Help a Grieving Friend

Book recommendation for those of you who follow this blog and have other friends who are hurting due to the loss of a loved one.  Know that the pain never really goes away. 

More info regarding the book is included in a post with the same name on our family site: 

How to Help a Grieving Friend

I recently checked out "How to Help a Grieving Friend" by Stephanie Grace Whitson from the library.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants an inside look--at least a glimpse--into the life of someone grieving a great loss.  As I made my way through it, I sobbed.  She puts into words some of the thoughts that have swirled around my head for the last several months...I'm gonna go through and try to highlight a few of these things (it might get lengthy, you've been forewarned!)... The following are excerpts straight from the book.

Intro: "This book is my attempt to use what I have learned 'in the valley of the shadow of death' to help others avoid being well-meaning but clueless...Quick and easy to read, this little book will give you important insight into how it feels to experience a profound loss and then will offer you specific ideas on how to help."

"You will undoubtedly think that some of the more emotional entries are misplaced.  This can't be right...She should have been past this stage.  Guess what? Grief doesn't happen in neat little stages.  Please remember this when you help your friend.  Just when we think we are making progress, grief has a way of rising up and slashing us right through the heart all over again."

"If you become aware of a mistake you've made, apologize.  This is important: Don't stay away.  Don't stop trying."

At times, this has been true...
How It Feels
If one more person quotes Romans 8:28 to me--or some other comfort cliche--I am going to SCREAM.  I know Romans 8:28 by heart.  I can read it in Greek. And French.  It doesn't help.  All I want is someone to listen to my pain. And maybe give me a hug.  I haven't had a hug in a long, long time.

How to Help
Don't apologize for not knowing what to say:
Chances are, there isn't anything you can say that will really help.  Your hand on my shoulder, your hug, and your presence mean a lot.

Delete comfort cliches:
I know every cloud has a silver lining.  Remind me another time.  Hurt with me now.

Let Me Be Angry:
It may not make any sense at all, but some days I'm just mad--at people who still have what I've lost, at people who are too nice, at God.  Just let me vent.

Don't Expect a "Thank You" Card:
I just don't have the energy to observe social graces right now.  I am grateful.  Just know it. [this is something i've felt very guilty of at times]

Accept my New Quirks:
If I'm reluctant, don't push it.  Grief changes people--permanently.  I may never be "my old self" again.  But I just might be a better self if you give me some time.

How It Feels
I cannot listen to the sermon today.  I do not care about parsing verbs or premillennialism.  I know my hope is in the future.  My life is on autopilot while I wait for and anticipate reunion and eternity.  Certainly I am glad to know that someday God will wipe away all tears, for I have cried enough.  I should be content with "the everlasting arms"--but I am not.  If I say, "Not my will but thine be done" often enough, will I eventually stop wanting him back and accept his departure as God's will and therefore as ultimate good?  My heart is broken, my world has been destroyed...and the lesson today is on prophecy.  I don't know how I am going to get through the next five minutes.  I don't care about what will happen during the seven-year Tribulation.

How to Help
Accept No for an Answer:
It's exhausting pretending to be happy in a group so I don't depress everyone around me.  If I say no, it doesn't mean I don't want your friendship.  It just means I'm too tired to hang out right now.

Say the Name:
Nothing hurts worse than thinking everyone else has forgotten him or her.  It's comforting to know that someone remembers, even if it makes me cry.

Remember the Dates:
Valentine's Day, my birthday, his or her birthday, are going to be awful this year.  And then there is the new one: Death Day.  You can't change the awfulness, but knowing that you remember makes me feel less alone.

Send Flowers--Later:
It takes a while for the permanency of my loss to sink in.  I will probably need signs of your caring even more later.

Be Specific:
'Call me anytime' has no meaning.  'I can run errands for you from 10AM to noon on Saturday' means you mean it.

How It Feels
Not Being There is what I did last year.  I was not There because my Here felt too overwhelming for me to contemplate anything else...I was Here for him...I was not There for my friends...It was my year of Not Being There for my friends, but I was Here for my [child]...Could I relive that year, I would still choose Being Here for my [child] and Not Being There for a stressed friend.  I have wanted to scream the reality of what I went through to those who just don't seem to get it.  I have wanted to yell about catheters and skeletal bodies, about feeding nightmares and listening all night to labored breathing.  Maybe it would help them understand the way of my Not Being There.  But I don't want to reduce my beloved's valiant struggle to a contest of Who Had It Worse.  He deserves better.  So do I. I wasn't There.  My job was Here.  Please try to understand.

How to Help
Don't Ask If Things Are "Back To Normal":
Normal just isn't a word that describes any aspect of my life right now.  My reference point for normal has been ripped away.  In time, I'll get a new definition.  But right now, I don't know what normal means.

Be Suspicious of My Smiles:
I learned very quickly to hide my misery so I won't drag other people down.  Don't always believe my mask.

Accept My Tears:
Don't be embarrassed when I cry.  Tears are healing.  They must be shed.  Crying alone hurts worse.

Two months, six months, a year after my loss, I am still facing new hurts.  A note or an e-mail that tells me you know means a lot.

Celebrate Life:
If you appreciate life more because of my loss, tell me.  It helps me to know that something good is coming from all this hurt.

Then she includes a whole list of times to pray for me, while all of them apply, here are a couple:
...because the second year is turning out to be harder than the first.
...when it's been long enough that you think I should be all right by now.

To find out more about the author, visit
Also, none of the above is any new idea or anything on my end.  All credit belongs to the author and this great resource for those who want to know how to help those who hurt.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

let the priming begin

It's only just begun....

We were actually able to knock out a lot of the first-coat of primer this evening thank to the help of some friends!  Can't wait to see the difference two coats will make!
(front room)

(living room)

(one of the walls in the kitchen)

(priming subfloor of upstairs--cover and seal any grossness before new carpet)

(quick shot of floors finished)

Today was also spent cleaning window sills (they were NASTY) and removing all the shelving from closets.  The master bedroom/bath seems to always be the last room we get to when doing tasks that need to be done throughout the entire house--either we run out of steam or run out of time (which both were the case this morning while Teri was helping with the windows!)  There is still much to clean and tons of renovating to do, but at least it LOOKS like we're making progress!

Monday, October 4, 2010

32 weeks....

Nevermind the looks on my face during these photos... I didn't want to take the time to photoshop them to at least draw more attention to the belly... As you can see by the first photo, I slump and slouch.  There is too much in front now and I'm too weak to battle gravity!
I still have 6-8 more week of protrusion ahead of me.... really!??!
The quick stats:BP: 118/73
weight: 183 (total gain of 28/up 3 from 30-week visit)
abdomen: not measured
baby HR: 125
baby activity: TONS of consistent movement.
baby size:  5 pounds! (give or take)  and measuring two weeks ahead of schedule.

Here's a sneak peek of baby...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Do you really love Christ?

God has been testing me in this area lately.  Between regular church services, our "Idols of the Heart" Bible study, books I've been reading (John Piper's When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy) and the True Woman Conference, I've been forced to take a look at my priorities.  Being a Christian isn't simply saying a prayer or going to church--it's a way of life.  The gift of salvation of eternity in heaven as opposed to hell is not free as some would have you to believe.  In fact, it is SO COSTLY that there is no possible way that any human could pay up.  Christ DIED on the cross when He was completely blameless so that those who give their lives to Him might truly live in (one day) perfect fellowship with God--our very Creator.

A life for a life.

Your lifestyle will either prove or disprove your love of Christ. The lives of believers should be radically different than the lives of unbelievers.  The impact of the gospel should drastically affect the life of a true believer. 

The unbeliever will minimize the truth and authority of God's Word, therefore rationalizing a "live it up" attitude, doing whatever seems right in your own eyes, coarse/vulgar language, gossip, an indulgent lifestyle (getting what I want when I want it), resenting or dishonoring your husband, letting others raise your kids, spoiling your kids, living impulsively, being impure and immodest (especially in the way you dress).

On the other hand, the believer is called to be a model of godliness and purity, being reverent in behavior, speaking truth and encouragement, living a temperate lifestyle, teaching what is good, loving your husband, loving your children, valuing motherhood, being self-controlled, being kind and other-centered, and submitting to your husband.

Clearly, I am not a prime example of the latter and I know I have a LOT of room for improvement and growth in my overall lifestyle, but I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is working within me and my life at least somewhat emulates the life to which God has called me. Growing up, I did not witness first-hand a godly marriage.  So anything "right" in my relationship with my husband can only be attributed to God's working in our lives.  December will mark four years for John and I, and we have certainly been tested.  Please pray for us as we continue to navigate this path of grief and growing while welcoming a new babe into our family.  Its definitely much appreciated.


Emma likes to pretend that she is the teacher and we (her parents) are the students....

Okay... what letter does 'kitty' start with?
Good job!  What letter starts 'doggie'?
Oh, very good!  And what letter starts ROLL-ER-COAST-ER?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Shepherd, Take This Little Child

A couple weeks ago, this was one of the hymns that we sang during the evening about a tear jerker.

Good Shepherd, take this little child into Your loving hands;
And in the days that lie ahead, protect this little lamb.

Good Shepherd, we commit ourselves in everything we do.
To by Your family here on earth and love this child for You.

Good Shepherd, now we place this child into Your gentle trust;
This precious gift we give to You is one You've given us.