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HOPE | Emma Edelman

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2023 12:28 am

HOPE | Emma Edelman

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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February 12, 2023 12:28 am

Today we are joined by Emma Edelman. Emma shares her testimony of how she went from addiction to recovery and how God carried her along the way.


Series: HOPE

Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram
Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram
Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram

Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Now, as the challenges of the pandemic continue, families living in poverty have to find a way to get through it all. Through the hunger, through the bills, through the fears of eviction. But when you give to the Salvation Army, you're lending a hand to bring hope for the road ahead. Through bill assistance, job assistance, daycare, and more.

Just $25 a month helps keep families in their homes. Keep hope marching on at Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Cheryl Gillum. Welcome back, Cheryl. Thank you. It's our third week of the series called Hope, and we're being joined by seven of our friends from all different backgrounds to hear their testimony.

How God has moved in their lives and how they now define the word hope. And our guest for today is? Emma Edelman. Emma Edelman. Love her. I do too. She's a very close friend of my wife and I.

Full disclosure, we are in a small group together. We go to church together. I've known Emma literally since she was a teenager. And now she is a grown woman who works here at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. And really oversees a very important program for us as people who work with children and at-risk adults.

Yes. And I came to know Emma actually prior to us coming to Atlanta. She had a small business.

But really since we've moved here four years ago. And I just have to say, the more I get to know her, the more I want to know of her. Because she is just, she's just a genuine woman of God. And I appreciate her creativity and her wit.

And she's just, yeah, she's amazing. And she has a powerful testimony. A prodigal story, if you will, that I know will be encouraging to our listeners. Now, we would love to hear your testimony as well. And if you'd be willing to share it with us, send us an email at

Or call 1-800-229-9965. My name is Emma Edelman. On Facebook, I'm Emma Priest.

I am a lifelong Salvationist. And currently am working here at Territorial Headquarters as the Territorial Child and Adult Safety Coordinator. Which is a very important job, I think. And I'm very honored to have that job and humbled to have that job. I'm also a mother of an almost 17-year-old boy who lives out in Phoenix, Arizona with his dad. And so he is just the apple of my eye.

I love him to pieces. I also enjoy things like reading and cooking. And I'm also, I would say one of my hobbies is probably going to school. I'm in my fifth consecutive year of school working on my third and hopefully final degree.

So I'm excited to finish, but I still think I'll want to continue learning beyond that because I just love to learn new things. My story starts when my family and I moved here from the United Kingdom 31 years ago, or almost 31 years ago. We made the trek across the pond, if you will, because my dad was offered a job here at Territorial Headquarters. And I became fully involved in the Corps here, even at home in England. I was like that too. I was a junior soldier and then became a senior soldier here in every single youth activity, youth music group and everything. However, at school I was making friends with probably the wrong crowd, you could say, and experimenting in drugs and alcohol and cigarettes and things like that, which a lot of teenagers do.

Not that that's a good thing, but it happens. Unfortunately for me, it kind of got out of hand. And by the time I was 19, I was actually addicted to crack cocaine. I was living on the streets. I was stealing. I completely turned away from the Salvation Army and from God and even from my family and was really making poor choices in everything that I did.

So in the summer of 1996, just soon after I had turned 19, I ended up getting arrested on a felony charge, shoplifting, and went to jail. When I got to the jail, I called my mom and my dad, who I hadn't really talked to in several months. And both of them said, sorry, we're not going to come get you, which at the time I was devastated. But now I realize that that was, for one, a very tough thing for them to do, but also the right thing.

I'm so grateful now that they did that. But I also called some friends to come and get me, and they wouldn't come get me because they didn't understand why my mom and dad wouldn't come get me. My boyfriend at the time, I knew he would come get me, but he ended up being arrested the same day for armed robbery because he was trying to rob someone to get money to come get me out.

So all in all, it was a God thing that I stayed in, and I stayed in for almost a month. And during that time, I was just in awe of the number of people who came and visited me from my core, from my church. These are people I hadn't seen in years, but they still came, they still cared.

It didn't matter what I had done. They wanted to show me that they loved me, that they cared about me. They brought me Bibles. They just prayed over me, and I really truly believe that was the beginning of me turning my life back around. When I eventually did get out of jail, which is quite a long story, and I actually have a podcast that I talk about that on there. But when I did get out of jail, there was actually nobody in the waiting room to take me home, and I was in South Atlanta. So I had to hitchhike to get to a payphone back then to call my family to come get me.

And then when they finally did come get me, my parents said, no, you know, you're not coming home with us because they didn't understand why I wasn't in jail still, and they weren't ready to trust me yet. And so I ended up staying with some friends for a while. And then I was able to get a job, and gradually I started getting back on my feet. I can say as of today, it's been almost 26 years since I have touched any drugs, which I am very grateful for and proud of. However, after getting out of jail, I still played around with alcohol. I was still smoking and still doing some things that I shouldn't have been doing.

But I certainly was more focused on God, and I was trying to figure out how to get my life really back on track. And then fast forward a couple of years, and I was unfortunately the victim of a date rape, which resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. However, I knew I was going to keep the baby, and I had someone who I had been dating who said they would marry me anyway and would raise the baby. And so we planned to get married. Just after my first trimester, I had a terrible miscarriage, which now I know was a blessing in disguise.

Obviously, I would never wish that on anyone or on a baby, but now I know it was all in God's timing. And soon after that, right before I was supposed to get married, I discovered that my then-fiancé had been cheating on me. And so he then decided that he didn't want to get married, and obviously I didn't either.

So the wedding was off like three days before the wedding. I say all that to say that things still happened. It was still difficult, but I tried to keep my faith in God.

I tried to keep pressing forward. I was very fortunate then that my family had come back around me and were supporting me. Not that they never supported me in the first place, but they were ready to start trusting me again, which was such a blessing. And I had so much support from friends and other family members as well. So then I had been living in Tennessee.

I ended up moving back to Atlanta. Started actually working at Territorial Headquarters for a little while, and it was there that I met my now ex-husband, but a very good friend who we eventually would get married and have my son. And when my son was born, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to raise him in the Salvation Army. I wanted him to be in the church that I had grown up in because it meant so much to me, and I honestly believed that was what rooted me.

Despite all the decisions and choices I made, that was the constant in my life. And so we started attending the Corps again. I gave my life back to God. I asked him to forgive all my sins.

I quit drinking, smoking, everything, and went back into uniform and then eventually started helping with different programs at the Corps and then started working at the Corps and then fast-forward 11 years, I guess, since then, and here I am today. So my story of hope is that looking back at my life and all that happened, especially in that period, is just knowing that God never left my side. Even though I turned my back on Him and I didn't want anything to do with the church or Him or anything and I thought I could do it by myself, I know that that's not true, and I know that He was right there with me. I think about that poem, Footprints in the Sand, a lot because it says about you look back and sometimes there's just one set of footprints, so where were you, God, kind of thing, and He says, oh, but that's when I was carrying you. And when I look back at my story, He was carrying me a lot.

There was only one set of footprints, a lot. And so I know now that moving forward, I can face anything. I'm not going to hopefully put myself in those situations, obviously, but no matter what comes my way, I know that God is there. He's going to help me, protect me, carry me through and guide me.

And so I just I put all my hope in Him. And by sharing my story, my hope is that others can see that as well, that they can see that no matter how hard it might be, no matter what you might be going through, that God is with you, that God is going to guide you and protect you as long as you let Him, as long as you have that relationship. I often think about what my parents did, what I put them through as a teen. And now looking at my own son, I pray that that will never happen to him, of course. But I would say to them that to not lose faith, to always pray, to always put their hope in God and to find a way to connect their children with someone else.

That's really I think that's the key for me. I think once I turned 17 and I decided I was grown and on my own kind of thing, there was really no one that I was connected to outside of my family. And I really wish that that would have been something that either I had pursued or someone else had pursued in my life, that I would have that relationship with someone other than my family that I could go to and talk to, who I could trust, who could pray over me and things like that. You know, we really do have to find those strong relationships with others that will help us, that will be with us. And again, someone we can talk to. Of course, we have God and that should be the first person you talk to. But when you get in these situations, that's not always who you turn to, unfortunately.

So just having someone in your life that you really can trust. And even if it's a stranger, even if you have to call a number on a poster or whatever, don't be afraid to do that, because there are people that are willing to help and that can truly help you get out of the situations that you're in. But ultimately, obviously, you've just got to really lean into the Father and you've really got to trust Him and ask Him to help you as well. . The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to The Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store. Or visit to learn about more programs produced by The Salvation Army. 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. Join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 19:01:26 / 2023-02-20 19:07:03 / 6

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