Adam Cunningham: A Better Man
By Jewel Graham
The 700 Club
You probably recognize Adam Cunningham’s Dove award-winning single “You Are My God.”
However, life hasn’t always been award-winning for the Cunninghams. Adam became a Christian at a young age and even took part in his parents’ musical ministry. In his teens, however, Adam intentionally walked away from God.
“It got bad,” he tells The 700 Club. “Boy, I got into drugs a little bit, just making some really bad decisions. I wish everyday that I wouldn’t have done most of it.”
Adam got a job as a used car salesman. At 19, he married the girl he met at Bible camp, Amanda.
“I was a terrible husband, a terrible father to our oldest child,” he confesses. “He was the only one around at that time. I was just a jerk, I mean in every essence of the word. I was very selfish.”
Amanda recalls, “I felt like he didn’t really have any desire or sense of responsibility to come home to his family and spend time with us on a daily basis. So it was a lot of not being around each other, and when we were around each other, just constantly arguing about every last little thing.”
Adam concurs, “I kind of alienated everybody from my life. Didn’t have any interest to talk to them a lot because they kind of reminded me of what I didn’t want to be anymore – a Christian.”
Shortly after, Amanda became pregnant with their second child.
“Three months into the pregnancy, we found out through an ultrasound that our little baby had something called gastroschisis. It was bad. Found out when a baby is forming, all its organs form and then the belly forms over that. In the case of gastroschisis, there’s a hole that doesn’t close up all the way. Now depending on your child the way it is, it can be a big hole or can be a small hole but the guts leak out. So looking at the ultrasound we saw baby and what appeared to be telephone cord, but it wasn’t. It was intestines. It floored me. It instantly changed my life. I was like, ‘What? I’m Adam Cunningham. This doesn’t happen to me.’ Well, it did. I really didn’t know how to deal with it.”
Born a surprisingly large five pounds, Brock Addison Cunningham was whisked off to surgery before either of his parents could hold him. With his wife in recovery, Adam found himself alone in the hospital waiting room.
“I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t make my wife feel better. I couldn’t fix my son. I prayed probably that day for the first time in a long time. I felt like an idiot. It all of a sudden hit me how much I had been failing my family up until this point. I could joke around all I want. I joke around a lot. But the fact of the matter is, when it all comes down to the end of the day, I was failing in every way possible. The only person I could call on was God. I don’t want to pray, act just like a bunch of hypocrites that I have seen so far. But I did.
“The doctor came in two hours later to give us a progress report. He looked at us and said, ‘I don’t know how, but we got it all back in.’ I was like, ‘In two hours? Come on! Are we on Candid Camera Hospital Edition?’ He was out of the hospital in three weeks.
“This is when I begin to live my life for God. My wife and I decided to live our lives for God from then on. If you ask me, that is when I became a true Christian. That’s when I made a decision to follow God. That’s when I made a decision to be a better husband, to be a better father, to be a better person.”
Adam took his family to North Carolina for a fresh start. There, he enrolled in Bible school and picked up his guitar for the first time since he was a child.
Amanda says, “He’d always played with his family, and I really didn’t know the extent of how much they played until he picked it back up. It was neat to watch him being excited about something and to really see his heart involved in something.”
“I started leading worship at a church in Mocksville, North Carolina,” says Adam. “It was the greatest church I have ever been a part of in my life. The people there put my faith back in Christians. They meet us where we were, and we found some great friends. From there, we got a phone from this larger church in North Carolina, a larger church than I had ever been a part of.”
From there, Adam’s name fell across the desk of two gentlemen in Nashville looking to start a music label different from any other. In 2007, Adam released his self-titled, debut album.
“I think that Adam and I are both a good example of how you don’t have to be a perfect person and you don’t have to be a super Christian,” Amanda says. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through or how horrible of a person that you think you’ve been. God can use anybody for something small or big.”
Adam adds, “Yes, it makes you feel used. God’s using me. I’m just a little nobody, but He’s using me and it’s awesome. I hear people telling me how much the songs that I write and sing touch their lives. That’s how God’s real. I see God provide when I don’t really know how I’m going to. That’s how God’s real to me. I see Him work through my wife to make me a better man every day.”
Today, Adam and Amanda have three healthy children and a strong marriage.
“ Why is God worth it and I’m not? I can’t tell you,” Adam says. “It’s something everybody’s got to figure out for themselves to get to that point when they make a decision. They don’t recite a prayer; they make a decision.
"There’s a song back when I was a little kid, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus.’ Boom! There it is. That’s the plan of salvation right there. I have decided to follow Jesus.”
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