Austin Carlile, founder and former lead singer of Of Mice & Men, shares the ups and downs of his struggle with a genetic disorder and his miraculous healing in a new film released today from I Am Second, a global storytelling organization.
"When we first heard Austin's story, we knew we had to share it with the world through I Am Second," said I Am Second President Lance Villio. "Austin's powerful journey shows that no matter how far we run away from God, He will always welcome us back with open arms. That is a message of which we all need to be reminded."
Carlile's life dramatically changed at the age of 17 when his mother unexpectedly passed away from an aneurysm caused by an undiagnosed case of Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder of connective tissue. Carlile soon discovered he also carries the genetic mutation for the syndrome, though he didn't realize at the time the lifelong pain it would cause.
Emotionally angry at God for taking his mother away and physically distraught from Marfan syndrome, Carlile discovered music as an outlet for his rage and pain. He founded the band Of Mice & Men and started writing about tough issues such as bullying, depression, suicide and losing loved ones.
"When music came into my life, I saw it as my new god," Carlile says in the film.
As Carlile began touring, the pain of Marfan syndrome began to take its toll. He sought to mask it with alcohol and drug abuse, but soon found himself in an unhealthy cycle. Because of his diagnosis, doctors advised him against any physical activity, and yet he jumped off stage and into mosh pits nightly. After an extensive heart surgery to replace a portion of his aorta, he returned to the band, but the issues got worse.
Unable to cope with the pain and unsure of the purpose in his life, Carlile called his dad to ask what he was doing wrong. His dad replied with a simple question, "Where's God in your life?"
Those words hung on Carlile's spirit and forever changed him. He became sober and turned his life over to God. Little did he know, what that would mean.
Still in excruciating pain each time he performed, doctors told Carlile in October 2016 he could no longer sing, as each time he did, it tore holes in his spine.
"Everything I was, was in that band, but I walked away and I knew God was calling me to do something different," said Carlile.
Carlile moved to Costa Rica and taught music, coached a baseball team and ran sound for his father's church, but the pain from his disease did not cease. Carlile asked God to take the pain from him and soon encountered a group of missionaries that would be an answer to his prayer.
He shares the details of the miraculous moment in his I Am Second film, which can be seen at IAmSecond.com.
"The people that have followed me, they have to know now what actually brought me through those things and that was Christ," said Carlile.
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