Everyone Has a Story
Carried by God
By Barbara Izzo
My story is hard to tell at times and I tell it now with the prayer that it will touch someone in a special way and give even one person hope to go on.
I never knew love as a child. My father was an alcoholic and abused me physically, mentally and socially. Because he drank up most of the money, there wasn’t much left for food, clothes or adequate housing. As a child as I lay in the dark of night hungry, cold and afraid, I often felt as if someone was with me comforting me and later realized it was Jesus and His angels.
When I was 15 I left home and supported myself and managed to stay in school. I married in my senior year and by the grace of God graduated 13th in my class on the National Honor Society. I married a man just like my father and divorced after two years. That led me down a road that included alcohol and drug abuse.
After a year of self-abuse, I hit bottom. As I was driving home one night after a party I knew I was lost and cried out to God to help me and save me. The next day I went and bought a Bible. Instead of going out with my friends, I stayed home and read the Bible searching for answers. After about a year of reading and studying the Bible, I was led to a Baptist church. On September 13, 1973, I knelt in my room and asked Jesus to come into my life. A few weeks later I was baptized.
I married a second time to a man who professed to be a Christian. That marriage was even more abusive than the first. Twenty-two years ago in Texas there were no laws to protect women and children from abusive men. I prayed and prayed for God to help my children and I get away from the danger.
A local radio station mailed out fliers for a contest that I won! Using the prize money of $12,000, my six children and I were able to leave the abuse behind. At the time I was six months pregnant with my seventh child.
When it Rains it Pours
Two and one-half years later in 1988, I was given three months to live because of a partially inoperable brain tumor. The doctor said in about three months I would go blind and die shortly after, but if they did surgery on the part of the tumor they could get, I may have more time. After removing the part of the tumor they could safely get, the rest of the tumor shriveled up and disappeared before their eyes. I told the doctor I knew it was a miracle.
Several years later I lost my 12 year-old daughter Sarah 10 days before her 13th birthday in an auto/pedestrian accident. She was playing with two friends and her youngest sister Phoebe after school when a reckless driver ran off the road and hit her. She lived for 17 hours, and God in his infinite wisdom impressed me to donate her organs with the idea that it would not only save five other lives, but would help me and my children to heal.
We had a ceremony to celebrate Sarah’s life on the first anniversary of her death at the San Marcos Seventh-day Adventist Church. There was media coverage from all over Texas. My children and I met two of the organ recipients. The lady who received Sarah’s lungs sang a gospel song with her new lungs and the second lady who received a kidney and the pancreas gave her testimony of how she gave her life to Christ because of her second chance at life.
Walking with Jesus
I’ve only touched on a few of the many times God has carried me through hard places. I believe that God can use our life experiences to help others and I have known no greater joy than when God allows me to reach out to another hurting soul and help them.
Early in my walk with Jesus I learned that bad comes from the devil and God only wants good for us. Jesus weeps with us when we are hurting and He is there to comfort us. I was a single parent for 19 years and raised my children on a prayer. I never had much money, but I had a bottomless bank account with God. Anything is possible with God. I truly feel I am living a blessed life and would not want to change anything God has given me.
I was baptized in the summer of 2007.*
"I know whom I have believed and I know He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until that day." (2 Tim. 1:12)
*Barbara was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist in Portland, Oregon.
Barbara Izzo writes from the Pacific Northwest. All rights reserved © 2012 StoryHarvest.org. Click here for content usage information.