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Mercy of Cop Delivers Addict from Cycle

Amy Reid


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“Just received a call from Shae Miller. She is asking for a little bit of help with her husband, Justin Miller,” says Sherriff Darrin Brawley. “Sounds like a guy we need to get off the street. She gave me a little description of him, what he may be driving. He does have a warrant, so we’re looking for him and basically putting him where he belongs. There he is…”

It wasn’t the first time that police had responded to a call involving Justin Miller. Justin grew up in Parkville, Missouri. As a young boy, he was confident and worked hard in his family’s lawn care business. “My upbringing was awesome. Very loving parents. Our whole life revolved around the family business. The motto was work hard, play hard and that's what we did.”

However, once he hit middle school, something shifted. “I started becoming a pretty insecure person through sports and everything else when I wasn't the best. Just not feeling like you're good enough, disappointing people,” Justin says.

Justin discovered alcohol gave him the confidence he lacked. By high school, drinking wasn’t enough, so he started using drugs that eventually led to a meth addiction. “Once it got ahold of me, it wouldn't let me go. I wasn't like everybody else. I took everything and I did it to excess.” 

He went to rehab several times, however, for Justin, it wasn’t about getting help for his addiction. “I still had pride like you wouldn’t believe. I’d quit long enough on the hard stuff to get everybody back in my good graces so I could go run off and do it again.”

And he did. Justin stole from his family and friends to support his habit and eventually got into drug dealing. By the time he was twenty-nine, he had married, divorced and was moving into the next cycle—prison. By that time, Justin had accepted his identity as an addict. “I didn't trust myself. I knew what I was capable of. I was told that this was something I was gonna have to live with for the rest of my life. I'm a failure. I'm never gonna make it in this world. I might as well party until they catch me. I became the biggest drug addict you've ever seen. Manipulating, lying, cheating, committing up to eight felonies a day to try and support this habit. And I figured I would just die an addict.”

Justin did have a moment of clarity when he was in his thirties and doing time after one of his many arrests. He heard someone quote a Bible verse and as soon as he got to his cell, he looked it up. “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. And at that point what I needed the most was strength. I didn’t think change was possible for me; I thought that this was my fate. But all that scripture I was reading told me differently. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to make it stick. I thought I had to earn it.”

So, after he served his time, Justin got a job and started dating Shae, a single mother and his former drug counselor. They even had a son together. But Justin’s demons soon returned. “Off drugs nobody ever treated me better than Justin. He’s kind to people, he would give people the shirt off his back. He is a very selfless person,” Shae recalls. “On drugs, it’s the devil himself. He will lie to you. He will steal from you. He will break you down to control you. I stayed with him because I loved him. And in my mind, it was almost like, if I stay, as much as you’re hurting me, maybe I can fix you. Maybe I can save you.”

One night, Justin stole money from his brother, who pressed charges. Justin took Shae and their two kids on the run. In two years’ time, Justin had sucked Shae into his way of life and his addiction. "Over time you kind of fall into a desperate period where, ‘Well, maybe if I just join you, then I can help monitor your bad choices. At least then you won’t leave, or at least then we can be together. I believed I couldn’t survive without him."

Finally, she reached out to God and surrendered her life to him. “I told Him I would do absolutely anything if he got me outta that situation. The Lord gave me this strength that I had never felt in my entire life. And I was able to leave, but He also gave me a peace that there was not a desire to call Justin, not to text him, not to respond to him. The Lord kept saying, ‘All I’m asking you to do is take care of you, I will take care of him.’”

Shae got clean and moved in with her parents. Now, alone in his addiction, Justin was desperate to get his family back. “I knew I was beat,” Justin recalls. “I knew that I had no control over this girl anymore because she said it’s in God’s hands and I know how God works. And I knew that I couldn’t manipulate her any longer. So, I lost it. I just started crying and I hit my knees.”

“There was this one text message that Justin had sent, ‘What do I need to do? And the Lord said, 'All you respond is 'John 3:16 Ministries.' And so, I did."

Soon after, Justin enrolled in the ministry’s spiritual boot camp for men with addictions. There, he learned about Christ’s unconditional love. "The thing that spoke to me is, even in my worst moments, even in my darkest days, He still loved me. I remember saying, ‘God, if you can help me, I will submit the rest of my life to you,’” says Justin.

However, submission wasn’t easy for a man who struggled with pride and Justin left before completing the program. Shae took him back and they got married. Though Justin had given his heart to Jesus, he was soon back to drinking and doing drugs.

Shae remembers that time. “When he came home there was disappointment ‘cause it didn't stick. And it's like, okay, here we are on this rollercoaster ride again.”

Shae says that at that point God told her to tell law enforcement where they could find Justin, who still had several warrants out for his arrest. "And it was not out of a place of, I'm mad and I wanna hurt you,” Shae declares. “It was, ‘I love you enough and I already committed to the Lord I was gonna do whatever He asked.’ The Lord made it very clear."  

Sherriff Darrin Brawley was a man with little tolerance for repeat offenders. When he arrested Justin, the forty-one-year-old had enough drugs on him to put him away for twenty years. Sherriff Brawley’s training told him to bring him in and put him away. Instead… "I cannot explain why, there was just something there telling me that he was destined to be something more. I said, ‘Most people, if they had done the things you have done, they would already be dead. In this hand,’ I said, ‘Wife, kids, life. This hand--you know where this is gonna go.’ And then, he started crying harder than I've ever seen a grown man cry in my life."

“We talked about God, and it was a real conversation. He just allowed me to tell him my story about where I'd been and where I'd just come out of. And I said, ‘Man, this ain't me. I fell off.’ He said, ‘Everybody gets one chance with me. This is yours.’”

Sherriff Brawley decided not to file charges. When he was released one week later, Justin accepted the grace he’d been given and rededicated his life to serving Christ.
“All I could really say was, is, ‘Thank you.’ I shouldn't have got any of the chances I ever had, but I should definitely have not got this one. I haven't drank or used a drug since. I'm not just sober. I'm delivered."

Shae agrees. “God didn't just give us Justin, He gave us the best version, somebody I didn't even know could exist.” Sherriff Brawley says that seeing the change in Justin had such an impact on him that he gave his own heart to Jesus soon after.

There was things that was kind of pulling me to God, and Justin was kind of the last straw that really pushed me that direction. That's when I thought, ‘Man, this is real. And this is the path I better go.’ I gotta admit Justin has helped me as much as I've helped him," he declares. “There is a freedom in knowing that I can go anywhere and not battle these same things that have took me down so, so many times. God looks at the heart and he sees the heart that's in you and He's with me everywhere I go. I know something now that I didn’t know before: there is a cure and His name is Jesus.”

“God's still in the miracle business. There's absolutely nothing too small or too big that he can't or won't handle,” declares Shae. “There's no better decision than to place Him at the head of your life. Just hold on. Cause He'll blow your mind.”

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About The Author

Amy Reid

Amy Reid has been a Features Producer with the Christian Broadcasting Network since 2003 and has a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University. When she’s not working on a story she’s passionate about, she loves to cook, garden, read and travel.