My husband, Justin, and I have been married for five years. We have four babies under four and have been blessed to live by Justin’s family in Delaware. We also have attended the same church and deeply love our community. But sometimes God calls you to move on when you’re most comfortable.
Justin is an incredibly hard working, faithful and dedicated husband and father. I was blessed with a father like that and I wasn’t sure if there were any guys left like him… But thankfully I snatched up a good one. 😉 After two deployments in Iraq his dream of staying through till retirement in the army was no longer for the best. And selfishly I didn’t mind when he told me that he was planning on getting out!
Three years ago he started liberty online full-time in hopes of finding a new career path. He was working full time with a very sick and pregnant wife and a baby under one. He’s been full-time in school while working until this summer. It’s taken sometime but we’ve finally found his passion in the field of Aviation. He earned his private pilot license and through that learned about dispatch. In June he signed up to go to fort Lauderdale, FL (where my family is located) to get his FAA certication for dispatch so Lord willing he can start a career he really loves by the new year.
My father passed very suddenly, but before that happened his advice was very instrumental in our decision to take the leap and sign up for dispatch. We had no idea when we signed up to come to fort Lauderdale in the fall that my dad wouldn’t be around. But God knew. We believe his hand has been guiding us in this direction.
My mom has graciously offered the back part of their home to us to move into. By October 1st we will be on our way home to Florida. When my dad was in the hospital I promised him I’d stick close to mom and help her as much as possible in this next season We have every intention of keeping that promise for as long as the Lord guides us. I’m thankful for my husband who loves my family just as much as I do and is more than willing and excited for this move. I’m ready to get home.
We have two big prayer request. The first is we own a home. We put it on the market a week ago and today is our first showing. We know we’re coming to the end of the traditional house hunting season, but we also realize we have a great big God who can move a house in seconds if that’s his will. Please pray we get an offer soon, and it’s one that is financially acceptable and we have no problems selling. The second would be please pray Justin will find a dispatch job shortly after completing the course. He is anxious to get started.
We covet your prayers! We l know if God isn’t in this, than it’s all for nothing. We hope and pray he is glorified through our family.
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
On Friday morning July 21st my father was transferred into hospice care. I followed the transport ambulance and met my mother and sister in the lobby. Two dear friends joined us shortly after. The staff wanted to get to know Dad. They asked us to describe him. The first thing my mother said was He loved the Lord. We all nodded. After agreeing with her the word that struck me was “intentional.”
Intentional means to do something on purpose, to be deliberate and to have a plan. My father intentionally loved my mother and all us kids and anyone else the Lord put him in contact with. He intentionally modeled what a good earthly father should look like not only to us but to the church, the neighborhood and anyone he came in contact with. He intentionally fixed his eyes on heaven daily and did more than his share of bringing the kingdom one step closer. He intentionally put his whole self into teaching others and training up the next generation. Whether it was a packed convention center or a one on one chat in his office. He gave his all. He was truly sold out.
Reflecting on my father’s life has been convicting. When people see my life, do they say “Steph points people towards Christ, she is sold out!” Or do they say, “Oh, she’s a nice person.” Being nice is great, but it won’t get you into heaven. I’m reminded of this Parable Jesus taught in:
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who has received the five talents went at once and traded with them and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. And he also who had the two talents came forwards saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents’ here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who received one talent came forward saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invented my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be more given, and he will have abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we investing what the Lord has given us? Are we living sold out? Is the vision of heaven fixed in our minds? I pray it is. When my time comes I want to hear the words. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let’s be kingdom minded, let us thirst and crave the word of the Lord. Let us be light upon the earth until the Lord calls us home. Let us be intentional.
For those of you who don’t know Christ as your personal Savior, please stop and consider. If today was your last day on this earth. Do you know where you’d end up? The Lord is soon returning. Let’s spend every day as if it were the day He calls us home.
Yesterday, July 27th we buried my father. If you would have told me at the beginning of this year that I would only have a few months left with my father this side of heaven, I wouldn’t have believe it. I’d be convinced you were joking.
You see, my father was very healthy and disciplined. He just had his knee replaced and was back walking 3+miles a day. When he visited my house in June he was walking every other day, maintaining a very healthy diet and happier than ever. It was the most wonderful visit. He was reading to the kids, spending time with Justin and catching up with me. He said so many times how much he loved us and was proud of us. How we were on the right track raising our kids. I remember stopping and thinking several times how grateful I was for both my parents.
July 16th I laid down for a nap after church. I was feeling pretty full after good fellowship and hearing solid teaching. Just after 2:30pm I was dozing off when my whole body jumped up from bed. I felt sick and afraid. I prayed that the Lord would let me rest cause I was so tired and peace fell over me and I feel asleep for a little over an hour. I woke up and checked my phone… “dad’s been in an accident…” my heart sank. I jumped out of bed and found Justin and sank to the floor. The family text was calm but we were tense… “is he ok…?” “where is he?”
He was driving home after spending the last two weeks preaching at a youth camp and catching up with friends and family. He should have finally been home that night. But the drive went terribly wrong. After attending church with my sister he changed at church and texted my mom saying he was coming home to her. He picked up subway and passed through Albany, GA. It was storming and my father hydroplaned and hit a tree on the drivers side. The door smashed in, car bent, steering wheel even snapped. He wouldn’t have even know what happened it happened so fast.
The text messages kept slowly flowing in… “any word?” Another one comes through… “Rachel is on her way, just over two hours out.” “They say he’s in and out of consciousness.” (Which later we found out was not accurate.) My stomach sank lower than it ever has before and I didn’t know how to pray. All I could manage was to ask Justin to get the suitcases down from the attic “just in case.” The next two hours crept bye.. waiting for more answers, waiting and praying for my sister to safely make it to my dad. Praying it really was nothing serious, and quickly texting close friend to pray as my whole body shook. I decided to take my oldest two kids outside to play and get some air. As they played my youngest sister called. “He’s not going to make it!” I dropped to my knees and said “I’m coming jess, I’m coming!” I dropped the phone, fully collapsed and just prayed over and over. “sweet Jesus, don’t take my dad. please Lord don’t take my dad…. I just want to see him… I just want to touch him.. please Lord spare my daddy.” Justin came running and held me I managed to continue. “Sweet Jesus I KNOW you are good, I want to give you glory. please spare him but please remind me you’re good.” My brother wrote and said “we got to go.”
We packed and were gone within twenty minutes. Fifteen hours of driving through the night, without a wink of sleep and we finally met up with all the stateside siblings and my mom. I dropped my kids off at the hotel, put on a dress and went to the SICU. I was met by a good friend who hugged me and escorted me to my dads bedside where my mom was. I had no words. I couldn’t even pray. I just stared. He looked so good, like he should just wake up. He had a broken arm and other broken bones you couldn’t see. His breathing was assisted and there were wires and monitors everywhere. I was speechless and trying to wrap my mind around what happened. I kissed him hands and held them. And thought maybe he will wake up, it’s just a coma, right? I quickly realized that wouldn’t be the case.
Tuesday. I got up early, got my kids fed and ready for the day then went to the hospital, this would be my routine all week. I offered to handle the logistics with the car and the tow truck driver and find my dads wallet. I had to feel useful or I was worried I’d go crazy. I called the tow truck driver and tracked down the car. It was off an old dirt road. Justin graciously drove me. We got out and the tow truck driver asked if my father was still alive. That should tell you something. I walked down the muddy path and saw it. My dads car. I knew he hit a tree but I had NO idea the tree went directly to his door. All I kept thinking was “he shouldn’t have made it this far, we shouldn’t be able to hold his hand and kiss him.” We got everything out but his wallet. After a second visit with my brother still no wallet. My mom asked my brother and I to continue on to the crash sight. We did, and we went together with our spouses. There wasn’t much to see besides tire tracks and a scraped up tree. But there his wallet sat. I was so overwhelmed. Emotions started to come in waves. Anger. Fear. Hurt. Confusion. But in the midst of that. I had a peace that surpasses all understanding. I couldn’t gather my thoughts enough to pray. But I felt the Holy Spirit press upon my heart that He already took my dad home. And that no matter what he is holding us all in his hands. I started to weep. “Father,” I prayed, “I just want my daddy back. But I know you are good.” Through the tears I sang the doxology, and Justin graciously helped me finish cause I could not. Here are the words. We always sing it at family gatherings
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
In that moment I gave it to God. I gave him my hurt and my anger, my confusion and my father. I said he is yours, just help me trust, help me praise, help me stay faithful.
Wednesday came, the longer my dad was in SICU the clearer the reality of our situation was. My dad’s brain was so damaged. We all saw the scans, the Dr’s were amazing and taking good care of him. But he wasn’t there anymore. He never woke up. And his body was quickly shutting down. My dad had written wishes stating exactly what we should do in that situation. Another mercy God knew we’d need. After lots of discussion, prayers and so many tears we transferred my dad to hospice. There was a special hospice place where they took amazing care of my father, and where the whole family, kids and all, could hang around and just wait. I have never sung or prayed so much in such a short period of time. We took turns making sure someone was always there and singing, praying and reading. We all had a job and without each siblings, spouse and friends we wouldn’t have made it through. At first light on Sunday, July 23rd, exactly one month before my dads 65th birthday, the Lord called him home.
Although we believe he never felt pain, we were relieved he was finally with his Savior. The next day we drove home to Fort Lauderdale. And three days later we had a family burial. We prayed together, shared stories, praise our savior and read his favorite passages.
Friends, my heart hurts so bad. I’m sitting in my dads office now and it’s so empty. He was more than just my dad, he was my hero, my pastor even from afar, my mentor, and my friend. So many times in this last week and a half I felt like I couldn’t breath. But God is good still. He has shown so many mercies, and the power of his grace. I’m going to continue to praise him. I’m going to carry the torch of my dads spiritual legacy. I’m going to weep so deeply and have to remind myself to breath. But I have no regrets, my dad knew I loved him and looked up to him. My family is even closer than we already were. The word of God is much sweeter. Heaven is something I now look forward to everyday. I want to challenge you. Cling to Jesus. Love your friends and family. When you don’t understand the situation follow my dad’s advice and “look at the big picture.” “it’s about the end game.” My dad lived everyday to serve his savior and his kingdom. He lived counter culture. He lived intentionally. I hope and pray that when God calls me home, my kids can say the same about me.
I want to say a special thanks to my church family in Delaware, you all have lifted me up from afar. Also my in-laws who have been calling and writing and praying. and making it possible for me to be here. To my friends state-side and internationally who have been praying and writing me. To those I’ve never met and might not meet till heaven who are praying and giving. But I really want to thank my siblings and my mom and my husband. You guys have physically, spiritually and emotionally held me up. I have always been proud to be a Perry. But in the last two weeks I have been the most proud and thankful for my family. For my dad. For my mom. For my brothers and sisters and in-laws. And for my husband. I love you guys.
Goodnight for now.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Thank you all for your patience as we figure out how we can best celebrate my father’s life. We will have a family only burial this week. But we are planning a large Celebration of life that will be open to anyone and everyone… please plan on joining us! That will take place on:
at Rio Vista Community Church, 880 S Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
From 2-5pm with food and fellowship to follow.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. I have so many praises I’d like to share with you. Let’s take a moment to thank our good heavenly father for his gifts to us.
- We all made it to Florida from Georgia safely. Praise him!
- My oldest brother is with us now through the end of the week thanks to a visa extension. Uncle David is here!! (pictures below) Praise him!
- My mothers new (to us) van is awesome and just what she had been praying for. Praise him!
- All the burial and arrangements have been paid for. Praise him!
- Rio Vista Church has graciously allowed us to use their facilities for the celebration of life (and many other churches offered theirs as well). Praise him!
- The Gofundme.com/helpbillperry as well as other gifts have continued to come in and it will help carry the family through this season of transitions and unexpected costs. Praise him!
- We are so thankful that my father’s brother and sister will make it to the burial as well my grandmom (Bill’s mother). They have all been very gracious and helpful through this whole process. Praise him!
- Friends and neighbors have/are bringing us food. We are so thankful. Praise Him!
Words cannot express our thanks for the universal body of believers that are holding us up in prayer, paying for all our expenses and loving us through this hard and tragic season. THANK YOU!
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
It’s been my deepest honor to be the one to get to update everyone on my father’s home going process. It’s been a very long week. It feels almost like a lifetime. We all have laughed, cried, praised, and prayed. A lot! We have been lifted up from so many. We have seen God’s goodness, mercy and grace first hand in every moment. I hope to soon share more on all God is doing and how he has been stretching me in my faith and lovingly shaking me to my core.
But for now I will be focusing on the next steps of dad’s homegoing. We will be back in Florida soon. It is the families wish there be no visitors just yet. We want to plan a memorial service that fits what my dad would like. That being said it won’t be for a little while. As soon as we have those details though I will post them here.
I do have something that you can do now. If you have a story of how my dad impacted your life would you please email them to me? I plan on putting something together just for my mom and immediate family. The days and nights to come will be hard. But stories of my dad make us smile and remember all the good times. My email is ten4Brock@gmail.com if you have a picture that would be great. Just attached the word document and in the subject of the email write “Bill’s impact.”
The http://www.GoFundMe.com/helpbillperry is covering the medical bills, getting my father home and the final arrangements. We are so blessed and humbled by God providing so generously through his people.
Please continue to praise our great Savior! He is still good! He is providing! He saved my father from death so now he can enjoy life externally! Praise him!
I leave you with my father’s life passage. It’s Psalms 112
Praise the LORD.  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.2His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.3Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.4Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. 5Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.6Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.7He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.8His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.9He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.10The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
As the dawn light streamed in through the open door of his room this morning, Dad passed from this life into the next with family by his side.
My brother David shares more here.
Thank you all for your prayers and love.