Singer Austin French, 24, is motivated to write music for broken people after experiencing brokenness firsthand. He has written different songs through different seasons of his life, and following the launch of his first album, Wide Open he said music is a form of art that allows people to know your story and it helps them recover from their own struggles.
He recently shared in The Billy Hallowell Podcast his incredible backstory of how he opposed Christianity, even as a pastor’s son, and how he became a popular Christian musician.
“As an 8-year-old kid I remember writing in my journal, ‘I will never be a Christian, and I just hated the church — I hated Christians, didn’t want to be a part of it.”
He hated the fact that people thought that his family looked perfect on the outside, while their home was chaotic and painful behind closed doors.
“I remember people coming to us and saying, ‘Your family’s the godliest family we’ve ever met,’” he explained. “But at home it felt like World War III, and the mask came off, abuse happened. It was fear-based. It wasn’t love-based and so I remember writing in my journal, ‘If this is what being a Christian looks like, I don’t want to be a Christian.’”
He was a confused young boy who struggled to see why he had to be two different people, how different his family was in church and how they actually lived outside of church. Eventually, his parents divorced and the church pretty much disowned the family. It was a dreadful situation that left him feeling shameful and he grew to hate Christianity.
“I feel like the church was embarrassed with me because I was too messy as a kid.”
As an 8-year-old kid, Austin realized that he didn’t know who Jesus was, he just knew the people who hurt him. He thought that Jesus would kick him out too when he messed up. He didn’t know the healing grace of God, he just heard about His judgment from his previous church community.
The Turning Point
Suddenly, something happened where Austin found himself totally mesmerized by a stunning reality: Jesus loves.
That encounter came when his mom worked at a small church and sent him to a music camp. It was the time that he encountered how graceful and personal Jesus is. It changed everything for him.
“A guy got up on stage and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk about hypocrisy. I’m gonna tell you there’s a lot of people who follow Jesus with their lips and they talk a really great game, but they’ve never followed Jesus with their life,’” he recalled. “‘That is not what being a Christian is — being a Christian is giving your entire life to Jesus. It’s looking like Jesus because you’re spending time with Jesus.”
“That’s the day I gave my life to Jesus and realized that I was saved by his scars,” he said. “I wasn’t defined by mine.”
Austin realized how important authenticity is over perfection. He even addressed this generation to be authentic in terms of their messes. Forget about being perfect before God, just be honest with Him because He is not surprised with our scars and dirt. We will never be enough but He is good enough. Be willing to take off your mask and lay down the need of being perfect.
When Austin was asked to describe his journey; he said it was “a roller-coaster ride, insane but amazing.”
“We have a God who is near us, who is with us. He’s not the type of God who says, ‘Okay, you have a struggle so go through that and I’ll come back after it.’ But no. What He promises us is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He never changes His promises. Even in our questions and doubts, He is always good.”
“Questions don’t make me a bad Christian, it makes me a kid. He’s not scared of my questions, He’s not scared of my doubts. He wants all of me, every season I’m in. Nothing’s too crazy for Him to handle.”
Listen to Austin reveal his journey to faith and how he truly came to discover Christ below:
This article was written by Le-Jovale Vallejo