eight twenty eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy

9781433681820_p0_v1_s260x420This is the most remarkable love story I have ever read. I was so engrossed that I had difficulty putting it down and finished reading the book in two days. I was familiar with Ian and Larissa’s story and was excited to hear that they were writing about their journey through traumatic brain injury. When they were dating in college and considering marriage, their plans were forced to make an unwelcome detour when Ian was severely injured in a car accident and landed in a coma at the hospital for many months. Gradually, he began making progress in rehab mentally and physically to the point that he was able to live in his parents’ home with extensive assistance.

All the while, Larissa continued to love him and ponder God’s plans for their lives together. She believed that if Ian could communicate with her and affirm his love for her, they would be able to move forward as husband and wife. Eventually, this prayer was answered and Ian was able to take the initiative to propose. As the video on their website so beautifully captures, they made a lifelong commitment to one another in front of God and all of their supportive loved ones.

I am astounded by this story because of its counterculture mentality in upholding the worth and value of a person with disabilities. I was touched in every chapter by how God has enabled these young adults to respond to the truth of his Word in a hundred big and small ways instead of listening to the world around them. Larissa’s honesty and openness captivated me on every page as I peered into her heart and saw the Lord working by his Spirit in her weakness. Rather than commending her for being so devoted to a brain-injured man, I praise God for his amazing grace and power so clearly reflected in their lives . . . which is the stated purpose of their book.

Ian is portrayed as full of gratitude for the Lord and able to lead his wife into a deeper faith. His point of view is fully included as his wife pieces together their story. Larissa possesses an almost poetic style of writing that drew me into the storyline as if I personally knew her. She shares the most difficult struggles and questions about suffering and healing this side of heaven, arriving at a place of wholehearted dependence on the Lord that would not have been gained otherwise. I am encouraged by the faithfulness of Christ in revealing himself through their unusual marriage and pray that he would also be displayed in my more ordinary one.

Required Federal Trade Commission disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest appraisal.