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Classic Interview | Finding My Identity: An Conversation with Austin Carlile

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2022 3:00 am

Classic Interview | Finding My Identity: An Conversation with Austin Carlile

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 12, 2022 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie sits down with Austin Carlile, former vocalist from Of Mice & Men about his journey to faith. Austin recounts the years he spent running away from God and how he came into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Although he was raised by Christian parents, Austin Carlile grew angry with God after his mother’s death and pursued satisfaction in a music career. Having spent years in the band Of Mice & Men, Austin Carlile had it all: money, fame, and a fast lifestyle. He performed alongside Kanye West, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, and others, but inside he had a hole in his heart that only God could fill. Diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and undergoing many surgeries, Austin had to turn to the one person who could save him: Jesus Christ. 

God had a plan for Austin's life, and He has a plan for your life. If you would like to learn more about entering a personal relationship with Jesus, just go to


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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, So thanks for joining me for this podcast. Hey, let's welcome Austin Carlisle. Austin, this is it.

Wow. We just met before the service, and what an amazing story you have. I kind of want to pick up on that lyric that you were just singing there. And were you saying, I need your love like a boy needs his mother's side, right? And so that was a big moment in your life, a horrible moment, a painful moment that I'm sure affects you to this very day still. And that was the day that your mother passed into eternity, and you were very close to her. She was a very nurturing mom.

She wrote you notes and told you how much she loved you all the time. And so with your mom and dad, you're raised in a Christian home, and your dad was more the disciplinarian. Your mom was more nurturing.

And you even said when you were speaking not long ago that you were more of a fan of your mom than your dad, right? So here you are raised in a Christian home, and you have a call from your grandmother to go down to the hospital. Kind of take us to that moment. Yeah, my grandmother called me. I was working at a barbecue restaurant at the time, and she told me that my mother had passed out. And I went to the hospital where she was, and I got there at the same time as the ambulance. And they were pulling my mother out of the back of the ambulance. And that ended up being the last time that I saw my mother. They came into the room a couple hours later, and they told me that she had passed away. And my grandmother was with me, and she took a left to go see the body. And I took a right, and I ran out of the front door of the hospital. And I threw my hands in the air, and I cursed God for the very first time in my life in 17 years. Wow, so this event just rocked your world.

You were obviously angry at God. Now you found out, you thought your mother died of a heart attack, but as it turns out, is it Marfan Syndrome? So tell us what that is and what happened.

Yes, sir. She had something called Marfan Syndrome, and we weren't aware that she had it. It's a genetic tissue disorder. It's a connective tissue disorder that's genetic, and it was passed down to me.

They thought she had a heart attack, but she had an aortic aneurysm, and her heart ruptured. And because of it's genetically passed down, they assumed that I had it at that time. And I used to play baseball, and I had to stop playing ball to go into college, and I found out that I had the mutant gene. And I was positive for Marfan Syndrome, which there's no cure, and that's why I'm so long and linky and skinny.

And from eye problems to heart problems to back problems to hip, rib, feet, neck, pretty much the entire body. So you cursed God. Why did you curse God, Austin? So you just felt like God abandoned you, God failed you? What brought you to that point?

I cursed God because I served God in the beginning. Growing up, I was raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad were youth leaders and music leaders, and we lived at an orphanage for two years just to love on the kids. And that was my parents' hearts, and my mom's especially. And she was the only person that I had. She was a single mother at the time.

My parents had been divorced for a few years. And she was all I had, and she was my, she was a reflection of Jesus. And I was so impacted by her and her life and what she did for us. And so I cursed God because I couldn't understand how he would take this woman that served him and loved him and reflected him away from her boy and left me with nothing, giving me this disease on top of it. So you found an outlet through music, and at 19, now you're getting into music, and ultimately you start a band called Of Mice and Men. And you said that music became your new God.

So what does that mean? It became my new God. I poured everything into it.

All of my time, my energy, my effort, my heart, my finances. You know, I wanted to live, and I wanted God to hate me as much as I hated him. And I wanted all that anger and rage, and I found music as my new God because I could pour all of that anger and rage into it before I was into violence and running with a crowd that I shouldn't have ran with. And music was an outlet for me so that I wouldn't pass away like some of my friends or go to prison because of the lifestyle that I was living. And so God, or music, then, in my words, saved my life.

Yeah. So your band had a lot of success. You were out touring with all kinds of bands. Who were some of the bands you toured with? Oh, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson. We did festivals with Imagine Dragons, The 1975, Kanye West, many bands like that. So you knew Chester Bennington. He was someone that you, I think you recorded a song with them or did something together, didn't you? We played a song together live for our world tour that we did with them. You know, so we read of people, these horrible suicides of like Chester Bennington and others who are at the pinnacle of success.

And it's sort of hard for us to understand. I mean, there's some young people right now and maybe they're into music and that would be their dream, to be in a rock band, right? And to have all that success and adoring crowds and thousands of people chanting their name. You know, I watch this special on Netflix about Avicii, you know, the electronic dance music DJ. And he had this amazing success, but ultimately he became a raging alcoholic. He was destroying his body.

And then at the end of this special, which was really about his life, they just, you know, the black screen came up and said he committed suicide. What happens? I mean, what is it like to be at the top and then be so despondent? You would say, I want to take my life. I've been there. As we just talked an hour ago in your green room, I attempted suicide. I thought that I had nothing. And then when I was in the world and gaining that success from the band, I still had that hole in my heart. And I still had, to this day, I see it now as a cross-shaped hole and I didn't know what I was seeking and I kept trying to fill it with all these other things. And the more success the band would gain and the more parties and getting to go to these different places and hang with these cool people.

And I kept pouring, I kept finding my identity in the band and in my success. And, you know, the world and Satan offer on one hand this lie. They say finances will make you happy or this new car or these social media things or these parties or this, you know, this outfit. And that's a lie. All of that stuff is so temporary and superficial and that's the stuff they pump.

And I wonder the same thing. When you get to that level and you have all these things that the world says will make you successful, will make you happy and people are still so empty. And I see now that it's because they don't have Christ.

But to them, they're constantly searching for new things and constantly searching for things to fill that in their lives so that they can either feel nothing or feel something. And that's impossible without Christ. And that's what I had to learn the hard way is I knew I needed Christ.

I knew that that was who I needed to turn to. But yet I filled my life with all these other things just because I didn't want anything to do with him. And the moment when I finally gave my life to God and started following God was because I saw that no matter what success the band built, no matter what I did, this was after a world tour with Lincoln Park. And I was still so empty and I knew that I had to get my foot out of the world and into Christ because I was just going to keep doing the same things over and over and over.

So you're on the road, your bus was known as the party bus, you know, and you're drinking a lot and you're smoking a lot of weed and all that. And you said that you felt empty, hurt and lost. And so your dad, your mom has already gone on to heaven, but your dad who you probably don't have the closest relationship with at that point because he's sort of a representative of God to you in a way, you call your dad. And what did you say to your dad and what did he say to you? I asked my dad, what am I doing? Like he could answer it for me. I asked him, what is the purpose of this?

What is the meaning of this? I was expressing how hurt and how lost I was and I felt and I never liked to talk to my dad because like you said, he was that representative of God. And I was so angry with him when I was a kid. Now as an adult, we've become so close and especially now as a believer, him and I have just solidified that because I respect how he disciplined me. And I admire and I'm grateful that he washed my mouth out with soap and spanked me and told me no.

It's a big part of why I am the man that I am today. Yeah. Hey, Pop.

He's watching in Costa Rica where he lives. What's your dad's name? Perry.

Okay. Hey, Dad. But I called my dad because he was a pastor and he doesn't have his life all together, but us as Christians don't really have our lives together anyways. But thanks to God, we have something.

We have everything through him. But I called him because I knew the answers to my own questions already. And his response to all of that was simply, where's God in your life? And that struck my spirit and struck me because I knew God was there. God is everywhere. But when he said, where is God in your life? He meant, where are you?

Where are you bringing God into your life? Where are you walking with him? Are you talking to him? Are you leaning on him? Are you still running from him?

And I was. I was battling him tooth and nail to run the other way. And you can't spend all that time resisting someone that you can't resist. And I spent all of my resistance on someone that I can't resist. So what happened then, Austin? I went back down into the bus and partied.

Yeah. But the next few months and turned into a year, my spirit kept hearing that, where's God in your life? Where's God in your life? And that's what prompted me because I knew that God was right there. God just wanted me to come to him exactly how I was with exactly what I was going through with all of that pain that hurt, all those things in my heart that I didn't want to give to him. God already knew my heart and he loves us and he loves us so much that he gives us a choice to love us. He doesn't just say, you love me. That's not true love.

The choice, he gives us that choice. And he was talking to my heart to get me to make that choice. And it took a year or two. I tried to get my life together, tried to become sober and it wasn't working.

I was just spinning my wheels. And one day we were in the studio recording the same studio as Whitney Houston where she did. And we were in New Jersey and our apartment was overlooking a graveyard. And I don't know if you've ever been to New Jersey, but you don't have to add a graveyard to have an apartment overlooking something for it to be dreary and sad and just not where you want to be.

The people in Jersey are great and the sandwiches. But I was coming off of opioids and I had stopped smoking marijuana and I couldn't get there. I was trying on my own. I said I got to get my life all together before I can come back to Jesus.

I had to get everything together. He's not going to want me like this. I know how, you know, I'm supposed to be and it didn't work.

And I was writing lyrics for a song and I literally put down the pen overlooking that cemetery and I said, OK, God, I'm done. No more me. No more trying. No more of me.

No more anything that has to do with anything of my own strength, my own knowledge, which isn't that much. I need you. And I said, I need you. I crave you. I desire you.

I have to have you because I can't do anything without you. And I said, I give up. And I gave my life to him. And when I when I prayed that, I told him, use my hands, use my feet, use my talent, use whatever gifts you've given me. And you take the wheel and you go because I have no idea what I'm doing.

And he took the wheel. Three months after that, he actually took me out of the band and that started this whole journey of to where I am now. But because of my Marfan syndrome, I had had I won't list them all, but hip surgery, rib surgery, heart surgery, foot surgery, ear surgery, countless back procedures. Who in here has had an epidural?

Any moms? I've had about 20 of those. I've had about 40 or 40 sets of trigger point injections. And while on our last tour that we ever did, I was singing and every time I would sing, I was in more pain than usual. And to the point of where I couldn't, I was throwing up and having to be in a ball on stage singing into the mic because I was having so much pain in the back of my head and in my back.

And we had to cancel the tour. And I found out when I flew to Stanford, I flew from London to San Jose, and they found out that I was having cerebrospinal fluid leaks, CSF leaks. And the sac that surrounds my spine, which is full of all the fluid, had tears in it. And every time I would sing, my spinal fluid was pushing out through my back and it was toxic to my body and it was making me sick. And I had toured for about a month like that. And that was the final straw. My doctor said, as soon as I got there in October 2016, they said, you can't do this anymore, Austin. And they had been telling me that for four or five years, but I kept pushing on because music was all that I had. Music saved my life and I have to do it, have to do it, even if it kills me. And it got to that point where it could have if I followed.

Wow. You know, you mentioned Whitney Houston. It's interesting in that studio because, you know, she had huge success, but she died effectively of a drug overdose.

And I read an interesting article about a lady, a psychologist that wrote a book, and she mentioned Whitney Houston and she mentioned Michael Jackson. She said, people think drugs killed them. She said drugs didn't kill them. The problem was they were always trying to hit the high note. And the idea was they were searching for something, maybe something they felt at moments, maybe something like you felt in performances, but for thousands of people. And they were trying to maintain that high. And drugs was a way to artificially maybe replicate it, but they weren't able to do it.

And ultimately that became their demise. But, you know, so you think of the course Whitney's life took and we think of the course your life took in that same studio where you both were recording. And now here you are today. And, you know, you're a Christian, but you're not living a pain-free life.

You're still battling Marfan Syndrome. But you're telling me an amazing story that you're engaged. And tell me where you met your bride-to-be.

Oh, wow. I've stepped into a dream and met my fiancé, I think, but I met my fiancé in the hospital at Stanford University. I was speaking in San Diego at a church and I had to cancel my flight to Costa Rica the very next day so that I could fly to Stanford because I was having an allergic reaction and I had fluid in my ribs and my eye was looking like this. And my doctor flew me to Stanford. And on the Monday following, two days after that, I met my mother. And she was a patient at Stanford for about three years.

And I'd been there for seven and we had never met. And we met in the hospital because she has a brain tumor. And praise God that the cancer is not there anymore. And that's something that we bonded on when we first met.

A, because of our health and we met someone that finally understands. But we bonded more when I prayed with her and I prayed for her tumor. And when I prayed for her tumor, I prayed for God's will over her tumor. I didn't demand healing. She wasn't healed so I had to pray a hundred more times. I prayed for God's will.

And she called me back and how much that impacted her because she said everyone demands healing. God can do anything he wants. But she said God left this tumor in my head for a reason. And God can do whatever he wants with anything of my life. And she recognizes that as something that God is using.

And for the past three years and raising our little girl and raising, being a single mom with this issue, it has turned her into a warrior. And there's no way that either one of us would have been prepared for each other unless it was for what God was doing in our lives and leaving in our lives medically. And just like Esther, for such a time as this, you have no idea the things that God is bringing you through and building through you and doing to you, even as painful as they may be because he uses every single thing for his glory and his glory.

And I can't believe I'm saying this on stage with Greg Laurie, but I hated the verse delight in the ways of the Lord. I will give you the desires of your heart for two and a half years. I'm delighting in you God. I'm delighting in your ways.

I love you know and not getting the desires and in my 69 Impala and maybe a house and not getting my desires. And then she walks into my life and I see now that my desires are what God's desires are because it's God, God's heart. And it's him through me and my desire and something that he needed me to have so that I can do what I'm called to do is a person that I can confide in, lead on, a best friend and a woman that is going to be my rib and my rock. And she can be with me and I can pour into her as she pours into me. Beautiful.

Fantastic. You know, Austin, what would you say? I mean your story is so powerful. Now even after as a Christian you're suffering, you're honoring God through your suffering. The Lord has brought you and your fiance together but think about a young person right now listening to you and that you live the life they dream of, the rock star life, success, fame, all that that goes with it. And what would you say and maybe someone's looking at you thinking I wish I had their life and then there's somebody else saying I'm addicted right now to drugs and I can't get off drugs and I've tried or I'm addicted to alcohol and I don't see a way out for me and there's even someone listening right now that's contemplated suicide.

Maybe even someone who's attempted suicide like you did. What would you say to that person, to someone that's come through this? What are your words to them right now?

God is right there. I asked my dad where is God in my life and he was right there and all I had to do was reach out. And so much of the world, they put all of these ideas out about how to make your life better and how to get over the addiction and how to get over the depression and how to live your best life. But it always is about your heart and you can empower yourself and you can do this and you got to be the best version of yourself and they're all wrong because it's not you. All have fallen short of the glory of God.

All have are going to fail and fall short. It's God and it's leaning and relying on Him and trusting Him and having a relationship, a living breathing relationship with your Creator that is going to get you through what you need in life. You're not going to come to Jesus and become wealthy all of a sudden or hyper-grace or anything that some of the world likes to say. Jesus says pick up your cross and follow Me and He never says it's going to be easy.

But it's a lot easier to overcome depression, addiction, any of these things that we deal with when you have Jesus with you. That's right. Fantastic. Hey everybody. Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast and to learn more about Harvest Ministries please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to and by the way if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God go to That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 11:58:34 / 2023-05-23 12:07:49 / 9

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