Eight Twenty Eight
By Ian & Larissa Murphy
B&H Publishing, 2014
What if that thing you really feared happened? Would the joy you hold pop? Or would you experience love and joy deeper than you can imagine?
They met in college and fell in love. They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring. They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old.
They did not imagine a car accident. They did not imagine his brain injury. They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him.
And they could not have imagined how persistent love would be. Theirs and God's.
Ian and Larissa Murphy tell their story of love in Eight Twenty Eight. Except, it's not just their love story. Really, it's yours as well. Read and gain a picture of love that will challenge all you think you know about what is true and what persists.
I don't read as much non-fiction as I should, but I am so glad I read Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy. This is a moving story, one that can't help but touch anyone who reads it. In fact, I don't believe anyone could read Eight Twenty Eight and not be changed for the better.
Eight Twenty Eight is the story of Ian and Larissa's meeting and courtship, followed by Ian's almost fatal traffic accident and long journey back. After the accident and resulting TBI, "the organization of his brain had been tossed around like the inside of a snow globe, but his language skills were still intact." Larissa's account is raw, emotional, and honest - a story of deep faith and commitment lived out daily when the unimaginable happens.
There's nothing fake about this story; the struggles, doubts, questioning are all very real - but so is the hand of God in Ian and Larissa's journey. The writing doesn't come across as professionally polished, but that's what makes it all the more authentic and appealing. Ian and Larissa's story is very well written, but it's the message that takes top honors. From my perspective as a woman, there's no way to explain Larissa's love, commitment and endurance other than complete surrender to God.
I think the best way to convey a sense of Eight Twenty Eight's impact is through a few quotes that really spoke to me, words that clearly show God's presence, healing, purpose and guidance . . .
"Maybe when each of us, after death, is ultimately swallowed up by life, we will watch the scenes from when God reached down inside Ian's station wagon, how God sat with him in the life flight helicopter, how he and God talked inside his coma."
"If I stopped believing that God could heal Ian, then I was forgetting an aspect of God's character clearly revealed in the Bible."
"Somehow, living right next door to the fear that Ian wouldn't remember me, was also the very real excitement that God hadn't finished with Ian, that He was still listening to us. Even in my most desperate times, He kept me from sinking into total despair."
"A best friend who . . . could show me more about God in a few words than a pastor could do in an entire sermon, simply because Ian was living it. I didn't know how I was still in love with a man who lacked as much as Ian did, but I also didn't know how God still loved me, someone who had nothing to offer Him."
"I was walking in step with a God who was bigger than me and whose purposes could not be turned awry, and whose enjoyment of me had nothing to do with my works."
Eight Twenty Eight is a compelling and moving read, one that I can easily recommend. You can also connect with Ian & Larissa online at ianandlarissa.com, Facebook and Twitter.
I'll end with what has become the significance of "eight twenty eight" for Ian & Larissa . . .
"…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Steve’s birthday is eight twenty eight. Their wedding day is eight twenty eight, made official four years after the accident. That sums up the story of Ian and Larissa better than I ever could. Please watch the compelling video below if you have time.
Ian and Larissa Murphy
Eight Twenty Eight can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, B&N, and Amazon.
Thank you to B&H Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.