”What am I doing here?” is what Juliet Rose was thinking on her first day as a Bible College student. So she plopped down on a bench outside the Ozark Christian College chapel and cried.
Juliet was born into addiction. Her mother drank heavily, and her dad was a drug addict and criminal. At 16, she fled to Las Vegas where she survived as a prostitute. That chapter of her life ended with her beaten up, used up, robbed at gunpoint, and left for dead on the street. Then things got bad…
By age 32 she had been married three times and had two children. She became what she calls a “functioning addict,” using and manufacturing methamphetamine. Her lowest point was after her arrest (for the ninth time) on 11 felony charges. Prison seemed a sure bet.
Worst of all, her children were taken from her.
Ironically, years earlier, Juliet had actually given her life to the Lord and, by her account, tried to be a “good Christian.” One time, during those years, she even visited her dad in prison, and,though they had no relationship, she tried to tell him about Jesus. He just sent her away.
But God used that brief visit to soften the man’s hard heart. Unbeknownst to Juliet, her dad came to know Christ while in prison, and today is a minister. Before his release from prison, he began to pray a simple prayer for his again-wayward daughter: “Lord, do whatever it takes to turn her life around.”
For Juliet, the “whatever-it-takes” was the removal of her two sons. When her dad cam to jail to post her bail, she cried, “I’m done, Dad. They’ve got my babies.”
She returned home a broken woman, fell on her knees, and prayed, “I’m sorry, God. If I have to serve you in prison or on the streets – whatever it takes – I’m gonna serve You!” Though prison seemed likely, miraculously all charges were dropped. Juliet then heard God say, “Now I can use you, Juliet. I’m going to use every vile thing that has happened to you to serve other women.”
Juliet thought, “If God is going to use me, I’ll need some training. But how will a college ever let me come?”
Juliet called Ozark Christian College and ended up speaking with Dr. Gary Zusiak, head of the Psychology and Counseling Department. Gary thought, “This lady has the passion for sure, but we’re going to have to balance it with knowledge of God’s word.” Dr. “Zus” guided and encouraged Juliet, and she was accepted in the fall of 2006.
So, this 40-something mother of two, a former addict and very nontraditional student, arrived on campus with a passion to answer God’s call. But she says, “After all I’d been through, I’d never been so scared in my life. I didn’t even know where to go. After wandering around a while, I just sat down on the bench outside the chapel and cried, ”God, are You sure You know what You are doing?”
Then she heard a quiet voice reply, “Yes, He does!” Someone, a fellow student (Juliet has not seen again since that day), helped her find her way to class.
If you had been in the OCC chapel service January 13, 2009, you would have seen that Juliet learned her way around campus. She became one of the student body favorites. She shared her testimony that day, and the college family gave her a standing ovation when she proclaimed, “I’ve been clean and sober for six years and three days today!” She shared her story of how God moved her from her great fall to His great call.
As Juliet closed by singing Alabaster Box, tears poured down her cheeks and the cheeks of six of “her girls” on the front row. The girls were from Guiding Light Ministries, a residential treatment program Juliet now leads for women with addictions. It seems God is using “every vile thing that happened in her life” to serve women with stories like hers.
Juliet is a trophy of grace, and she is sharing that grace with others!