Love Never Fails
by Ian & Larissa Murphy
“Ian, I just got offered a job,” I said to him, standing between his bed and the small window in his room. I had just hung up with a company where I’d interviewed the day that Ian had moved to the rehab floor. An acceptance of the offer would mean provision for us and benefits for me, and an opportunity for us to find a home.
On April 8, a few days after Ian was discharged, we signed our first lease as a soon-to-be married couple, and celebrated with dinner in Pittsburgh.
It was happening.
This was really happening.
“I promise you I’ll make sure that Ian is okay,” I had told Steve, sitting next to his bed as the cancer was winning over his body. I meant that promise. I was not going back on it.
But my weakness and messiness often overshadowed my confidence—confidence in myself, and the confidence I’d been given in God. And as our wedding date grew closer, so did my fears and anxieties. My fears bounced around easily, sometimes landing on the fear that I wasn’t fit to be Ian’s helper. Then there were times when my fears bounced and landed on the familiar game board square called “doubt,” a scary place filled with brain injuries and disabilities and other words that terrified me. I mostly landed on this square when I was with people who didn’t understand disabilities and didn’t know how to slow their lives down so that Ian could fit. That’s when my mind would shift from being Ian’s helper to being a caregiver of someone who was severely disabled. And in those times, I started to panic, feeling as though my upcoming marriage were a death sentence.
That turned into anger toward Ian and impatience. That turned my mind into defense mode, thinking everyone was telling me Ian had no value, and that I had to justify, over and over and over, why he was worth marrying.
But Ian—he was steady.
“You’re marrying more than a brain injury,” he told me after a long talk, seven words that convicted my heart.
“But what if I’m not fit to be your helper,” I asked him, my anger and inadequacies seeming too big for me.
Immediately he responded, “No way. You would do anything for me.”
I knew that God was bigger than my fears and bigger than Ian’s brain injury, but the reality of the new life we were heading into, and the way reality felt on bad brain injury days, suffocated me. Was my gut instinct telling me to not marry Ian? Or was that feeling in my gut my heart’s response to choosing a life that would be hard? I didn’t want to step into the darkness of a disabled life, the darkness of feeling powerless on my own to love or be loved. But I didn’t want to step away from it either, because that meant stepping away from Ian.
Excerpted from Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy. Copyright 2014 B&H Publishing Group
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.