Editorial Board: This is part two of a three part series.
DALLAS, TEXAS: Jill Edelman’s life began simply and in the country of Georgia – deep in middle Georgia. Raised in a Christian home, she took to life with faith and a dedication to her family – which included in the late 1980s and early 1990s, her husband and two boys.
But that is when tragedy struck, Jill told The Murphy Gazette.
“My boys and I suffered a tragedy in 1996 – their father decided to leave us,” Jill, now age 52, said. “It was such a shock – I was angry with God.”
She smiled, “I didn’t walk through this period with grace – God still blessed us.” Jill was introduced to Richard Edelman – who soon became husband number two.
“Richard was a father and a dad to my two boys. He taught my sons so many lessons about love and life.”
According to Jill, the family did a lot of traveling together, and “we owned homes, ate at the best restaurants where the boys could order anything from the menu … I had transitioned from a single mom robbing my sons’ piggy bank to buy groceries to a life that dreams are made of.”
She smiled, “He loved us and he saved us. And for that, I am eternally grateful.> Not long after their married, Jill and Richard and the boys moved to Russellville, Arkansas. “It was then that I realized God was blessing us with miracles – and the next one for me took place then. We were traveling to Georgia on a stormy afternoon.”
After stopping to get gas, the family started on the next part of their journey. Richard didn’t buckle his seat belt. “Which is ironic because he traveled for a living, and was so adamant about everyone wearing a seat belt.”
The family hydroplaned into a semi-truck about 30 miles later – spinning and flipping their car into a deep ditch – with their luggage all over the highway. “My husband’s upper body was in my lap. The top of the Yukon we were in was crushed … on the driver’s side. Had he been wearing his seat belt – Richard would have been instantly killed.”
Jill paused, “However, the only injuries sustained were a small cut on my right little finger, and my husband’s herniated disc.”
It was after the accident, that Richard became a Christian. “He asked me to call my dad and have them come to see us. My dad led my husband to the Lord in our living room … Richard and God began a two year honeymoon – God knew exactly what Richard needed to build his faith and develop a lifelong relationship with Him.”
A few years of somewhat normalcy was felt in the Edelmans’ home until two years later. Jill’s oldest son became very ill. “One day, I got a call saying Jonathan Kerth was not coherent, and he was vomiting and complaining of a headache. I rushed home, put Kerth in the car and headed straight for the emergency room.”
While her son was being tested by doctors at the hospital, Jill remembered something her dad told her once. “He said, ‘Honey, if you fall apart when your boys get hurt, you’re of no help to them. One day, you may be all they have. Their lives may depend on you.’” She prayed. “My son went home that day.. The CT was normal, and the doctors could not explain the cause of Kerth’s episode. They said maybe migraines. If it was a migraine, Kerth never had another one.”
Jill’s son, Corey, became ill years later with migraines, and her son, Kerth joined the U.S. Army, and was immediately deployed to Afghanistan. Richard and Jill made a couple of moves and encountered the grace of God through relocation. She recalled praying for Corey with her family on the sidewalk in front of their church in Georgia.
She said, “Over time I began to trust God more and more for His plan for my family.”
“Kerth was an infantry airborne soldier, and I was not sure he would return home when he was deployed,” Jill stated. “My heart dropped. I was terrified … in moments that I was about to panic, and be overcome with fear, God reminded me for the stake I put in the ground at the emergency room that day when Kerth became sake – when I gave them to Christ.”
Jill passionately stated, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away … blessed be the name of the Lord. I knew no matter what the outcome, my son would be fine and so would I.”
The Edelmans experienced many highs and lows and saw God at work in so many areas of their lives through those years.
And the most unthinkable thing happened.
Come back tomorrow and see part three and find out what it was.