Gracie Arroyo was born and raised in New York City. At 12 years old her father died and her mother moved the family to Miami, Florida. In the late 1970s Gracie found herself living in the infamous Miami drug scene. She turned to drugs, alcohol and men to ease the pain of her life. By the age of 20 she had three young boys.
One night while out on the town Gracie had an experience she would never forget. Around this time she was dealing with depression due to an abortion of a 5-month-baby. She went to a local club to party. While at the club she was drinking, when suddenly, a man shot her. She was then rushed to the hospital and her mother came to visit her. Her mother had already become a born-again Christian and told Gracie that her life had to change. Gracie decided to leave Miami and moved to a small town called Huntsville, Alabama. It was there in Alabama that Gracie's life would change again.
She went from hitting the streets and clubs to going to church regularly. She was involved in a program called Outreach Ministries. There she started to read the Word and learn about leading a life separate from the world. Gracie eventually got two of her children back, all the while fighting for the third. She knew her life was changing in so many ways. Gracie met a man named Jeff McCall and they married in Alabama. She was blessed with two more boys, Jeffrey and Caleb.
After some years the first marriage fell apart and later she remarried. For around 18 years she was in ministry. Gracie participated at various churches in worship and traveled and interpreted for different speakers. "Though I was in ministry full-time and serving the Lord with everything I knew, I felt empty inside because I became more work-oriented in the ministry than having a deep relationship with Jesus." In 2003 Gracie was soon to have another life-shattering experience thrust upon her.
It was March 17, 2003, when Gracie found her son dead in his apartment. Joshua, who was her firstborn, had passed away from a severe seizure. "When I found my son I started praying. I believe God can raise anyone from the dead. While praying I heard the Lord say, 'He is not coming back. He is with me.'" Then the reality hit Gracie that Joshua was truly gone. It left a deep wound that would come to the surface for many years.
After Joshua's death Gracie slowly started to question everything. How could someone who served in ministry lose their firstborn son unexpectedly? How could God have allowed all of this to happen? Then during this time Gracie's second marriage starting falling apart. Gracie never stopped believing in Jesus Christ, but she drifted back into the things of the world. She started drinking, dating and partying. Everything that she had been separated from she became intertwined with again.
"In the middle of all that chaotic living the Lord kept reaching out to me through other ministers on TV. Sometimes even while partying, there would be people around me who would say, 'Why are you even here? There is something different about you.'" One man even told Gracie one night while seeing her out at a bar that she had a light around her. Gracie knew that she was marked by God. No matter how long or how far she ran back into the world, Jesus would chase her with His love.
Around 2010 Gracie had a supernatural experience. She woke up from partying and walked to her side door. While looking outside she noticed something above the outside storage building. "There was an angel standing on the roof of the building. The angel spoke to me, 'You will fulfill your destiny. You will fulfill your destiny. You will fulfill your destiny.'" After this event, Gracie decided to visit a local church. Someone who knew Gracie saw her come in. The lady told Gracie that she knew something had happened because she saw a light all over Gracie's face. The Lord had implanted a seed of hope in Gracie through this experience.
One night in 2016 Gracie decided to go to a local bar, and the Lord spoke to her. "Look at these people—same drinking, same sin, never changing." She realized then it was time to leave all this behind. She left the bar and never went back. Gracie's life changed drastically. Gracie began to plug back into hearing the Word of God. She also discovered the book The Shack. She read the book for three days. In the middle of the book she cried out and realized she had been mad at God this entire time. She cried out to God and asked for forgiveness. God spoke to her and said, "I know. I've been waiting for you." That day something spiritual broke off Gracie. When it broke off she was set free.
Around this time Gracie's two boys, Jeffrey and Caleb, began to live for the Lord. They both had radical, born-again experiences through Jesus Christ. Caleb had been set free from drugs and alcohol. Jeffrey had been set free from alcohol, homosexuality and a transgender lifestyle. She saw her sons set free and she had been praying for them through all of these crazy years. Even in the midst of her confusion and hurt she had always prayed that all of her boys would be saved. When Gracie saw this prayer starting to be answered, it kindled her faith.
In 2017 Gracie's mother died. Nieves was the spiritual rock of the family. Nieves was also the one who encouraged Gracie to give her life to the Lord after the shooting in Miami in the 1980s. Gracie's mother always told her through all of the partying years to live for the Lord and go back to following Him. "When my momma died I knew she had gone to the Lord. I knew it was time to carry on her mantle and just believe that God is who He says He is. I knew it was time to be an example to my family."
Around 2017 Gracie got married. She started attending Charis church in Tennessee. Gracie also went on to get her Ph.D in education. She is now currently an educator. Gracie's desire now is to help all those who have fallen from grace to see that God still loves them and wants to see them fully restored. "I want the body of Christ to know that just because people have fallen, doesn't mean they are hopeless. This is the time to remind the church that we are to restore the brethren." If anyone identifies with this story Gracie is making her email available for prayer. She would love to lift you up the same way Jesus lifted her up!
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