Since the beginning of his life, Adam Villiers has been familiar with difficulty. Born in 1977 to a fourteen-year-old struggling with addiction, Villiers was two and a half months premature and had cerebral palsy. He died three times during birth and had to undergo open heart surgery. Unable to walk, Villiers had multiple surgeries on his legs and spent a significant part of his childhood in hospital recovery. At four, he was finally able to manage an unsteady walk, which other children only teased him about.
Villiers was adopted by parents who loved him dearly but frequently argued on account of his father’s alcoholism. This led to their divorce when Villiers was ten. “I really didn’t understand it. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t a good enough child for them to stay together,” he says. His feelings of inadequacy worsened and, as a teenager, Villiers believed he was destined to be rejected, insecure and unmarried. He played electric guitar to express his frustration.
Then, at 17, he found out he was adopted. That news pushed Villiers to his limits. “Don’t do this,” the dealer told Villiers as he held the cocaine. “The moment you try it, you’ll be hooked.” Villiers heard the words but ignored the advice. The insecurity and rejection he felt overwhelmed him, leading to three years of serious addiction.
“I was scared,” Villiers says. “I thought: this is my life now. I’m just going to be a revolving door of addiction and not able to break it.” He began to drown these fears in alcohol and other destructive decisions.
In 1998, Villiers was suddenly homeless. After finding out that Villiers stole and sold some of his possessions, the landlord kicked him out and changed the locks. Confused, with nowhere to live, Villiers sat outside and thought about ending his life. He imagined getting into his car and driving it as fast as he could, yanking the wheel to one side, and flying over the embankment. He cried as he rolled up his sleeves and stared as his pincushion arms.
Villiers’ foster brother Mick, who had been talking with the landlord, saw Villiers break down and joined him outside.
“Do you want to live?” Mick asked.
“Yes,” Villiers replied.
“Do you want to go to detox?”
Mick took Villiers home and locked him in his basement. He brought Villiers food every day and drove him to detox a week later. As his outlook and his life improved, Villiers rediscovered the God he had accepted into his heart at eight years old.
Now, years later, Villiers is a worship leader for The River Community Church in Abbotsford. He also leads worship for house groups, conferences, and other churches in England, U.S.A., and Canada. And he’s married and a proud dad-to-be. There’s much to worship about.
“It feels like I’m talking about someone else even though I’m talking about myself,” Villiers says. “God has done so much that when I think about myself in the late 90’s – ‘did I really do those things?” He says this with a big smile.
“I have to pinch myself and realize, my reality is way better than I could have dreamed,” Villiers says. “Even coming from the difficult circumstances I’ve had in the past, my reality is absolutely amazing.”
Villiers has just recorded an album titled Show Me the Way to Your Heart featuring Chris Janz and Brian Doerksen. He wrote the songs at various times in his life, but it wasn’t until last October that Janz suggested they record a CD. “I’ve always loved singing,” Villiers says. “I don’t even think I’m a good singer… but I love being able to give away what God has freely given to me.”
After a year of recording, Villiers can’t wait to get his hands on the CDs so he can give them away to people he meets.
It is easy to see that Villiers is constantly amazed by God’s love. “I just get an amazing sense of God’s presence sometimes,” Villiers says. He stares at his arms as he feels it pulsing through his body. “I guess I can describe it as an endorphin rush. I just feel God’s presence and I just go – wow!” His joy is contagious.
Villiers and his wife, Michelle, are joining the leadership at The River Community Church in Abbotsford to help it grow and thrive. “And if God allows me to travel more,” adds Villiers, “that would be icing on the cake!”
Villiers’ music is available to listen or purchase, with free lyrics, chords and video tutorials with Villiers, Janz and Doerksen.
In closing, "I still remember the days when I prayed for what I have now" Villiers smiles.
Agnieszka Krawczynski, The Light Magazine