By Kim Eidel
Many words have been used to describe the highly anointed evangelist, Angela Stress. Acknowledgements such as, spiritual fire cracker and power house speaker are just a couple examples.
This energy packed minister is well known for her testimony of arising from a pit of drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and prison to become a mouth piece for God with manifestations of His glory. Angela’s life story in many ways reflects facets of Joseph in the Old Testament, arising from the pit to the palace.
Angela’s story begins as a young girl growing up in McDowell County in West Virginia. As a daughter of a coal miner, Angela was close to her family and to Jesus. When she was ten years old her world was ripped apart due to her parent’s bitter divorce. Like many children, Angela thought the divorce was her fault. This mindset sent her into a downward spiral of defeat and depression. With only having limited contact with her father, Angela felt rejected, unworthy, and she had a hard time trusting anyone; she no longer felt safe.
Angela was not like the other children and now her current circumstances fueled her not fitting in. She was an active and loud child and the churches she went to had a hard time loving and accepting her. These churches offered religion instead of acceptance, love, and help. She was met with rules and regulations and she had a hard time meeting their expectations and her rejection issues became more solidified. She soon felt imprisoned with condemnation and began to see God as a tyrant and a punisher. Angela’s last hope was dissolved due to this and her world became that much darker.
Determined to end it all, she attempted suicide several times. One of those attempts was almost accomplished with a plastic bag.
Even with counseling with a social worker for emotional and mental disorders combined with medications, she had no peace. Her torment grew within her month after month.
During her teen years, Angela considered life as a nightmare. In an attempt to minimize her pain, she began to cut her wrists and her arms. She regularly began to smoke, drink, and look for love and acceptance from boys and men.
She was blinded and didn’t see her value or worth; her spiritual and emotional bondage engulfed her deeper in discouragement, despair, and depression. This led to several more attempts of suicide.
What Angela was unable to see was that even though she ran from God, He didn’t leave her. In her attempt to end her life while in the pit, God had other plans. His intervention and grace, though not recognized at the time, was sustaining her. It would still be a few years with her delving deeper in the pit before redemption and deliverance would be embraced.
Angela transitioned into adulthood with the same level of turbulence and self-destruction as before. Due to a critical spirit, negativity, and brokenness, she often sabotaged her relationships. This led to a couple failed marriages. She had a mistrust of men in general and was always on guard as a defense mechanism. She would often build a wall to isolate others. This type of behavior led to the demise of her first marriage.
Leaving her daughter regularly with her mother, Angela went on a two year wild spree consisting of going to night clubs, partying, heavy drinking, and relationships with men. It was during this promiscuous lifestyle that Angela once again became pregnant and married the man she thought would be “the one”. Unfortunately, “happily ever after” turned disastrous and propelled her deeper in the pit.
Due to her husband’s high drug use and multiple adulterous relationships, Angela’s insecurities and rejection issues intensified leading to the return of her cutting herself.
To try and save her marriage, she allowed him to introduce her to drugs. Because of her addictive nature, she instantly became hooked and her focus shifted to keep her “high” going. Because of her new found drive for drugs, Angela lost custody of her second child and she and her husband relentlessly pursued ways to accumulate more drugs.
Becoming a narcotic’s dealer, they would drive from state to state visiting numerous doctors’ offices to retrieve pills to use and to sell. Over time, her husband’s luck ran out and he was caught. The authorities placed calls to all the doctors’ offices they used and cut off their supply.
Instead of using the time to run to and cry out to God, Angela succumbed to her addiction. Strung out on drugs and with her supply depleted, Angela unknowingly was going through withdraw when a dealer friend introduced her to Dilaudid in a liquid form that needed to be administered by needle. This new addiction accelerated her to a whole new level…a new hell.
The path she was now on led to their losing everything. With her body craving this new liquid gold, she turned to stealing and prostitution to feed the frenzy. Life and people no longer held any meaning to her; chasing after the next high was all that mattered.
Angela remembered enough of the Word to know that where she was and the direction she was going was detrimental to her life and her eternity. Because the Lord declares, “I will never leave nor forsake you…” (Hebrews 13:5), His Holy Spirit penetrated through the dense haze of her hell to woo her.
Surrendering to the persuasive love she glimpsed, she attended a couple of churches while in her deteriorated and drug induced state. Once again, she found judgement and condemnation. These churches missed their opportunity to minister to a desperate, hurting, and hungry soul because they were not able to see past her addiction.
This rejection reinforced Angela’s view of herself as being subhuman. With all hope of deliverance and restoration eradicated, she plunged deeper into her downfall by her decision to steal checkbooks, write bad checks, and use checks on closed accounts. She even “bought” a car with a stolen checkbook. Viewing her immense downward spiral, Angela attempted suicide several more times with drug overdoses. She was at rock bottom and the taste of despair exponentially increased to the point where she called out, “Jesus! Do whatever it takes to get me back to you; even if it means putting me in jail. I just wanna get back to you!”
It was after this heart wrenching call out for help that she was recognized and arrested. At this point, Angela was a wanted criminal in four different states. She was escorted to Logan City Jail and upon her arrival, she was given a Bible. When she was delivered to her cell, she hit the cold concrete floor and surrendered her life to the Lord. This full submission to the Creator of the Universe was the beginning of her journey to restoration and deliverance.
The Lord led Angela to the prison chapel where she met a female Church of God minister. This Woman of God ministered the Word, love, and life to Angela, who devoured it up like a starving child. She learned for the first time that God loved her and wasn’t holding her past against her. This message penetrated her heart, soul, and spirit and years of bondage instantly broke off; the vice grip hold on her chest was finally released and she felt like she could breathe again. But glory be to God, this was still just the beginning.
Not long after this spiritual encounter, a female Word of Faith reverend arrived at the prison. With Angela’s agreement and receptive heart, this Word of Faith Minister took authority over the addiction and wrong mindset Angela had in the name of Jesus and the remnants of bondage was obliterated and she also received physical healing in her body for Hepatitis C that she contracted during her drug induced years. Through a couple of tests, the Hep C was now medically proven absent. Over a four year period of time this strong woman of faith taught Angela how to break down the Word of God and how to speak it and apply it to her life.
Through Angela’s determination for change and her hunger for more of Jesus, a major shift took place in her life. She diligently studied the scriptures and her new identity was now found in Christ. She chose to walk in deliverance and significantly grew spiritually. Over time, Angela had confirmations from visiting ministers through the prophetic word what the Spirit had already shown her…she had a call of God on her life. The Lord began to provide opportunities for Angela to minister to others. She started her ministry while in a place where most people felt hopeless and tainted. Through her obedience and fire for God, she started preaching in prison. She paid tithes and offerings to the local church from the money she earned. God saw her faithfulness and commitment and He blessed her. People who had wanted nothing to do with her in the past were now sending her money. She had favor and flourished while in prison. Relationships were starting to mend, including those with her parents and children. Angela took God at His Word and great things were taking place. Through His mercy and favor, 30 felonies were dropped and Angela was released early from prison.
A Thing of Beauty
God did amazing things in and through Angela Stress over the next eight years. After her release from prison, Angela continued to grow in the Lord and entered ministry full time. With the help of her Daddy-God she opened and pastored two sober living homes with over 40 adults committed to the philosophy of a 100% Christ based recovery program. Though these centers are no longer open, God used them to rise up mighty warriors for Him who are now working in ministry.
Angela started studying psychology at Liberty University; with her background, prison ministry experience, and with her ordination in ministry, Angela began to work intermittently as a counselor for Mike Barber Ministries.
She also authored a book that was published in 2013 titled, “At His Feet”. This book, along with a newsletter she writes weekly to convicts in prison are just a few other examples of her work for the Kingdom.
Angela is also used for the Lord by working as a full time Evangelist. With requests from churches and ministries in and around the states of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, she regularly delivers a powerful message of deliverance, redemption, and vitality in Christ.
In terms of her personal life, Angela has been happily married to a man of God for eight years now. They have a child together, and through God’s grace of reconciliation, she has her other children back in her life as well.
Angela can sit on the porch of her new home in Tennessee with her family and gaze at the picturesque landscape while in awe of what God has done and how far he has brought her. He took a broken beggar and turned her into a beautiful princess warrior for Christ advancing His Kingdom. The amazing thing about her spiritual metamorphosis is that her awakening began in prison. Angela is a living testimony of how powerful a prison ministry can be. Every soul is worth pursuing for His glory. Her life is proof that no matter how far gone someone is; no matter how detrimental their situation may appear…God is still God and He is still on the throne and He still uses imperfect, but willing and available people to accomplish His will and plan.
It is with this fire and drive that Angela marches on…she has made herself available in His service and her heart cries, “Lord, use me!” It is this mindset and full submission to Christ that has propelled her out of the pit and into her promise land.
Kim Eidel is an Apostolic Minister and founder of Arise Ministries — a non-profit religious organization and its divisions — that teaches the “how-to’s” of faith and practice.
With a mandate to serve, encourage, empower, and disciple through speaking engagements, live events, writing, and broadcasting, Kim equips others to grow spiritually and to develop a closer and more personal relationship with the Lord.
Kim is an ordained minister through the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and is the Executive Pastor at the Refuge Church of God in New Martinsville, WV and has a degree in education. She is also the author of several published articles and enjoys teaching the principles of God’s Kingdom.
Kim and her husband, George, live in West Virginia with their four children.
2 comments on “Angela Stress: From the Pit to the Promise Land”
I know the power that lives inside this woman. It is yet to be unleashed but when it is HELL will be shaken!
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Tammy, I agree!