1. In 2012, a video of your story released that went viral on the Internet. Tell us about the response.
We were absolutely blown away by the response. We had no idea what to expect, and neither did the ministry who created the video. Nearly as soon as it was released, our email and blog were exploding with comments as the video gained thousands of views. People from all over the world were viewing and sharing – it was overwhelming.
2. What made you want to write a book about your experience?
It was a story that needed to be told, because God is awesome and He tells a great story. With Ian specifically, God has shown us His ability to heal as well as trust Him when it doesn’t seem like He’s near.
3. You titled the book Eight Twenty Eight. What does that mean?
Eight Twenty Eight is threefold for us: Ian’s dad was born on August 28. He died the year before our wedding, before we were even engaged, but he is at the core of our story – for Ian individually and us as a couple. As we were wedding planning, we realized that August 28 fell on a Saturday, which meant it was the perfect day for our wedding. Eight Twenty Eight also references a scripture that has been very meaningful to us, Romans 8:28.
4. Why Romans 8:28?
Throughout Ian’s story, we have needed to rely on the promise that Romans 8:28 gives us – that God is working all things for our good. Even though we don’t see it at the time, we have His word, which never fails. Ian looks to that scripture for hope and assurance of things unseen.
5. If someone has watched the video, why should they read the book?
First and foremost, the book will help readers to better understand what Ian has faced through his accident and fight for recovery. The video was told from Larissa’s perspective, because it needed to be, really. And while the book is primarily from her perspective as well since it is based on memory, our story is dug into much more deeply, allowing glimpses into the good man that Ian is. We think it also is going to encourage people to believe that God is real, He is bigger than us, and He is filled with infinite love.
6. What do you want someone to get out of reading the book?
A life change, by understanding bigger and better things about life and God.
7. Was there anyone in your family or friends who didn’t think getting married was a good idea?
We’re sure there were people who thought that, but not those closest to us. Those that loved us did ask the hard questions, to make sure we weren’t feeling forced because of the attention our story had drawn, but that was out of care, not condemnation or judgment.
8. You write about a board of gratefulness in your house. Tell us about how it came about and what it does for you two?
It actually arose from a book that Larissa read which struck into very deep places in her heart. Gratefulness needed to be in the every day because the every day is so very challenging. The gratefulness board came to mind while sitting around with the Murphy family. Someone had a spare cork board at their house. We had spare fabric. And Ian’s mom had post-it notes. So within a few hours, our wall was ready for our notes. And every guest that came in our home needed to add to our wall.
9. How are you two doing today? What challenges do you have today? What triumphs?
Ian’s challenges are that he wakes up every day and faces sin and a disability. A double whammy! This year, he had a major surgery on his femur to allow him to hopefully walk independently. He is currently in rehab after being non-weight bearing for three months, and is working hard every day. He also sells paintings to pay for his therapy and medical needs. Larissa’s challenges are having energy for all that the day entails, working full-time, being Ian’s wifey, and continuing to be the voice for their story. Our triumphs are Ian’s progress in walking. Becoming new homeowners. That we’re still in love. And most importantly, that we still believe that God is good.
10. What are some of the ways you’ve seen God move in your story?
The fact that Ian is learning to walk again, and making incredible progress, is a huge display to us and those following our story of God’s great power. We receive emails every day from all over the world from people who are in similar situations, or who are hurting, or who simply have given up on believing that God was for them. They receive hope from seeing the work God has done for us, and that is huge.
11. What have you learned about love?
Ian has learned that having someone there to love him makes all the difference, because love is able to lift him up when his life is feeling low. Larissa has learned that love doesn’t give up, when it is dependent on God.
12. What advice would you give young couples preparing for marriage (or experiencing a disability)?
For young couples, Ian says to always keep the other person’s interest at heart. Larissa says to get ready for a crazy ride – highs and lows that are completely worth it. For those facing tragedy – keep on, keeping on; there are much better things after this life.
13. How can we pray for you?
We’re always so encouraged and humbled by this request. Ian will be starting to rehab on his leg, with the hopes of walking independently, and we would love prayers for that. His life will TOTALLY change if he is able to walk!
We also just need to continue to have tenderness toward and enjoyment for one another.