Feeling Broken in a Broken Family... with Austin French

Feeling Broken in a Broken Family... with Austin French

“As an 8-year-old kid, I just remember saying, ‘Mom, I just don’t wanna be hurt anymore.’”

Austin French shares his childhood experience in a very broken home and how those wounds impact how he shows love to his wife and children. Do you find yourself in what feels like a broken situation? You’re not alone.

View this video with Austin French, and other Healing Out Loud videos with JOY FM artists videos on the JOY FM YouTube Channel.


I was eight years old, I believe I was in third grade, and my name came on the intercom at school. I remember looking at my friends like, “Why am I getting caught out of class?” My mom had showed up at the school, and I remember just being afraid, like, “What’s going on?”

The morning didn’t go super well at home. My parents were fighting. My mom ended up not even staying the night that night because things were pretty crazy at our house. And so I remember walking up to the main office and seeing my mom standing there, and I remember the moment she asked me, “Should I leave your dad?”

And as an eight-year-old kid, I just remember saying, “Mom, I just don’t want to be hurt anymore.”

She asked me what I would think if she left my dad, and I just remember it was turmoil at home. I remember it being painful. I remember it being scary. And so my mom just needed to know that her kids were going to love her even if she chose to leave my dad because we came from a tradition, too, that’s like you stick it out even if it hurts. And there wasn’t support, and we were the poster family at our church.

We were the poster family of our town, and for the walls to come crashing down, she felt the weight of that, knowing that it could possibly ruin our lives forever. And it definitely didn’t make it easy.

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Yeah, that memory, it holds a lot of weight. Yeah, I remember the look on my classmates’ face when I came back, and I was probably just a ghost. And my buddy Jacob asked me if everything was okay, and I just smiled and I lied right to his face. I’m like, “Yeah, everything’s fine.” And as an eight-year-old kid, yeah, that ingrained itself in my memory, I sometimes just feel it pretty clearly of just a memory that doesn’t ever seem to go away.

In our little town of 10,000 people, people weren’t the kindest, especially there was people choosing sides between my dad and my mom. And I remember just the ugliness of people to things that I would hear, even from my friends that parents were saying about my family. And so at that moment, it was like, hey, I’m going to support you, Mom, and so what it built in me and my sisters is, hey, we’re in this together. We need to pull our weight. We need to get jobs. We need to do whatever we can to help Mom out, because we did feel like she was rescuing us from a situation. But then we walked into another hard situation.

Yeah, it definitely feels like I grew up too fast. I look at my kids now, my little boy, woo.

My little boy, Coleman, just turned eight. He just turned eight, and I look at him and he doesn’t worry about where his meal’s coming from, doesn’t worry if someone’s going to hit him.

He just feels safe, and I’m so grateful that me and my wife can create a safe place for my kids.

It’s the wounds that shape us.

Austin French, Healing Out Loud

Yeah, it’s the wounds that shape us. And now getting to be a dad with a little boy around that age of when my life fell apart, I feel that. I feel the responsibility and also the gift of just being able to do it different. My childhood and what I experienced as a kid, I didn’t realize how much it affected me until my early twenties of my friendships and then my wife and also when I became a dad. I’ve never had that much anxiety and fear as whenever I was told that we were about to have a kid.

And so it’s not something I wake up and I feel very confident in, being a dad. It’s not something I feel like I’ve had a ton of mentors pour into me on what to do and how to do it. Man, I’m stumbling all over the place, but I found so much grace. My greatest hope is that they never doubt that they were loved no matter what they do, no matter what they’re good at. Yeah, there’s nothing that could undo my love for my kids.

If you’ve been hurt, if you feel damaged, you feel wounded, and you feel like nobody cares, that is so lonely. Don’t let the loneliness of keeping all the despair inside rob you of the joy of community and healing that’s on the way. My story, if anything, is I am a work in progress, but there are things in my life I never thought I’d get past. There’s also things in my life I never thought I’d be able to tell people. And it just takes being honest once.

Healing can’t happen unless you get uncomfortable first. It was not comfortable to talk to my wife. It’s not comfortable to talk to my kids about my insecurities as a father.

It’s not comfortable to talk to my dad about how he hurt me. It’s not comfortable to talk about the decisions my mom made to my mom. None of this is comfortable.

But what I’ve discovered, at least in my life, is that when you’re willing to walk into the uncomfortable, grace is there to meet you because, I don’t know, redemption isn’t supposed to be easy. Satan is going to try to grip as tight as he can, isolate as good as he can, and make you feel as alone as you can.

But redemption rolls back the stone and says, “Lazarus, come forth.” And it’s going to be pretty smelly, it’s going to be pretty gross, and it’s going to be not in the most beautiful thing, but freedom comes at a cost, and it’s whether you’re willing to bear your wounds to the light or not. And sometimes that redemption’s just waiting on us to be ready for it.

Hear Austin’s story featured in his song, “Jesus Can.”

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Sharon Williams
Sharon Williams
5 months ago

Praise the Lord for honesty and being vulnerable. Ultimately it’s God who gets the credit But I believe it’s our part to recycle out loud our story of how deliverance came one small step at a time. Thank you JESUS!