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Women of Hope: Grace Perez

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2022 1:39 am

Women of Hope: Grace Perez

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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October 2, 2022 1:39 am

In our final episode of this series (for now), we hear from Grace Perez. Grace is a Salvation Army officer's kid. She grew up in the church and talks about periods in her life where she questioned everything. 

Her story of losing her mother and the strength she continues to find in the Lord and the people He surrounds her with is so powerful. If you have suffered a tragedy like this, our hearts and prayers go out to you. If you need prayer, please reach out @

RADIO@USS.SALVATIONARMY.ORG

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https://salvationarmysoundcast.org/

 

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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life.

Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Cheryl Gillum. And we've got our friend Ashley with us.

Hey, Ashley. Thanks for having me again. Man, thanks for coming back. Thanks.

I think our listenership or our viewership is going to go up by leaps and bounds because people are going to find out that you're here. Absolutely. And this passion that you have for interviews. She's so humble too.

I'm grateful. This passion that you have for interviews really is great because we're getting to know people on a much different level. Deeper level.

Deeper level, yeah. And that's a good thing. If you've missed the past couple of episodes, we're sharing three testimonies from incredible women who've overcome very difficult circumstances and challenges and discussed the hope they found in God along the way. Ashley, who's on the slate for today? We have Grace Perez today. She is a beautiful, talented, driven person and I just love her so much. But she has truly a God story that is fresh. She lost her mom recently and that has been shattering for her. But to see her character, really to see Jesus literally working through her through this grieving process has been a beautiful testament to God and his comfort that he gives us when we really need it. So we just have to watch it.

It's incredible. I am Grace Perez. I am 21 years old. I am daughter to Tony and Vicki. I'm sister to Zachary and Caleb.

I'm dog mom to Buddy. I'm a student. I go to Georgia State.

I am studying mathematics and I want to be a math teacher. I'm also the Corps program assistant at the Atlanta Temple Corps. Well, my story starts out pretty simple. I'm an officer's kid, so I grew up in the Salvation Army going to the Corps. I walked alongside my parents in ministry when I was about six years old. I gave my life to the Lord at Camp Hoblitzell in Texas. And over the years, I grew in my faith and my understanding of who the Lord was. When I was 14 years old, I began to question everything.

I began to question who God was and who God wanted me to be and who the Army was and everything I've learned throughout my entire life. At that time, my mom had been diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer and we didn't know whether or not she would live. But God worked through amazing medicine and amazing doctors. And about six months after her diagnosis, we had been given the results that she was cancer free. And I knew that the only way that that could have happened was God.

And so over the next few years, my mom still had to go through extensive testing, but every single time it came back that she was still cancer free. And so when I was about 16 years old, my parents separated and got divorced and my dad was no longer an officer and my mom went on sick leave. And at that point, I went through an identity crisis because I had always been Grace the officer's kid who had two loving parents in the home. Now, I was still Grace the officer's kid, but I was Grace the officer's kid from a broken home.

My mom was so strong during that time and she taught me that even on the worst days that God is still good. And so I went on to graduate high school in 2019 and I moved here to Atlanta. And I started college at Georgia State and I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. And in 2020, I started as a program aide at the Atlanta Temple Corps and I began my ministry with, as I call them now, my kids.

And I remember never feeling so fulfilled with something that I was doing. It was just so life-giving to be able to minister to the kids and to show them that Jesus loves them and to teach them about who He was. In February of 2021, me and my mom both tested positive for COVID-19. We went through two grueling weeks of symptoms and after that, we came out on the other side and we made it through. On March 19th, I came home from work and I walked in the garage door and she was sitting in her chair and she looked at me and she said, Grace, I am so sick. And I looked at her and I said, Mama, you're going to be fine.

We're going to get you through this. And over the next few days, she began to throw up, couldn't keep anything down. And I just saw that she had become a shell of herself. And so on Monday, I took her to the ER and when they admitted her, they said that she was septic and her blood pressure was so low.

They said that had I not brought her in when I did, she would have died. And so she was admitted and by Wednesday she had made a turn. She was getting better. Her fever was gone.

She was keeping food down. And so I thought that she was going to she was on the other side of it. At 3.43 on Thursday, March 25th, I received a call in the middle of the night and it was a nurse and she said, The doctors are working on your mom. The doctors are working on your mom.

The doctor will call you back. And so for 15 minutes, I didn't know whether or not my mom was alive or dead. I remember feeling so helpless and praying that the Lord would just be in the room with her, that he would wrap his arms around her and that she would be OK. And so the doctor called me back and he said, Your mom has gone into cardiac arrest. We were able to bring her heart back and we're moving her to the ICU. And that next morning, my brother and grandma and I were able to go to the hospital because she had been placed on life support.

They told us that based on my mom's scans, that she would never make a meaningful recovery, meaning that she could never feed herself or open her eyes or speak or walk again. And in that moment, I broke down. I was sobbing. I hit the floor.

I couldn't even stand. And I felt like all hope was lost. On Saturday, April 3rd, we made the decision that we would take my mom off life support and we would place her in what's called comfort care. And I remember praying and begging God that he would perform a miracle, that she would open her eyes and walk out of that hospital room. And as we sat there holding our mom's hand, we were praying and we had worship music playing in the room just and I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in that room with us.

At 557, on April 3rd, my mom stepped into the arms of Jesus. And when her heart stopped beating, I remember saying to God, I was like, if you're the creator of the universe, why couldn't you save her? That began the time for me where I was not only in grief, but I was angry. I was angry at God. I was angry at the doctors. I was angry at the entire situation.

And that anger consumed me. I remember one night I was in prayer. I was just, I was just yelling at God and I was like, why had I taken her into the hospital earlier?

Would it have been any different? And he said to me, he said, Grace, this was her story from the beginning of time. This was how I was going to call her home. Had you taken her in any earlier, it would have been the same outcome.

It was her time to step into glory. God used that night to begin chipping away at the pain and the bitterness and the brokenness that was in my heart. And he told me, he said, you were my daughter. No matter how much pain you were in, I still love you. I still have my days where I question and I, it still feels so fresh, but God holds me up and he sustains me and he used it, he's used this story to help me minister to those around me. Finding hope for me on a daily basis right now, it looks like I'm looking to the people that I love because I see hope in my brothers in our conversations. And it's diving deeper into the word and trusting that joy comes in the morning, that God's faithfulness will sustain me and trusting that he will hold me up. I hope that our listeners and our viewers were able to hang in there for the whole story because the rest is unwritten for grace. God has the great plans for her and she is pursuing those plans. I know that it's been so incredibly difficult for her and her brothers.

I don't want to forget them. If you've gone through loss, particularly loss related to cancer or any sickness, we are not alone. God is always there.

He's omnipresent. And even in our worst circumstances, he's a good God. That was the one thing that she took from her mom's experience of cancer.

She said she taught me the goodness of God. It's hard to talk about that almost seems like that's just trite saying or whatever. But actually that's what grounded grace during this horrific time in her own journey with her mom finally leaving this earth is understanding that even in the midst of all that pain, God is still good and he sustains her. Yeah, that's the whole point of this series is to be real about the things that we're going through because we are all going through something and we cannot pretend.

We can't live life acting like that is not the truth. And so we are going through the experiences we have because God wants us to use that for his glory. Thanks for doing these interviews Ashley. Yeah, thank you. I hope that our listeners have been encouraged. If you need prayer, if you're interested in reaching out to us for questions, please send us an email at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org.

God bless you. Tell us how we can help share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for the Salvation Army's words of life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army Worship Center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's words of life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-28 23:15:00 / 2022-12-28 23:19:50 / 5

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