Also posted on my Wordpress blog site here https://dcshelton.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/turning-point/
I snagged the Quora app for my phone because of the interesting topics and blogs set up as a Q&A model of blogging site. It is simple way to interact with people with less overkill media like on most social sites. I posted my first response there to this question below. It reminded me of my old WordPress site that has been laying dormant for so long, that I figured I might as well wake it back up and get back to blogging here on occasion. The reason I left was to utilize the Squarespace blog on our AFM website, but never found it as useful since there is much more connectivity here and on sites like Quora. So needless to say, I’m back!
Here is my response to the question above on my first Turning Point:
I have two turning points. My first starting when I was about 8 or 9 years old.
I was a typical American boy back in the early 70’s living in what I considered a typical American family. My mom divorced and remarried to an air-force pilot who adopted me and my sister, and living in military base housing at various places where my Dad was stationed. My Dad just passed away last month at 89 years of living.
I grew up mostly in coastal Atlantic beach areas so we spent much time playing and living among the ocean surfs. I wasn’t much different than anyone else..very typical boy in most ways. But like all boys and girls, ultimately all my life and focus was about me…and me having fun doing what I wanted. I wouldn’t say I was a particular bad boy. My parents loved me and I obeyed them for the most part (mostly out of fear of my dad’s belt across my butt ) But I did do bad things as a boy and did have a sense of my own depravity. Oh nothing earth shattering bad; stuff like sneaking around in disobedience to my parents trying out cigarettes…playing with fire in our kids club house we made of tall grass along the overgrown railroad tracks and catching the whole place on fire; sneaking through the woods with my playmates up the hill to peek at the naked people in the “adult” drive in movie theater..and just general kid mischief, and using naughty words that little boys typically do when they don’t have direct adult supervision. I was a sinner and I knew it. But compared to others, I was pretty typical so it seemed.
My family was a typical southern family that lived a what I sensed was a typical American life. Nothing spectacular, just normal 2 parent 2 child family. We’d go to church chapel every so often as my dad was raised a typical East Texas Methodist, and my Mom raised up attending Church as a girl from Gulfport Mississippi. Neither of them were particularly religious. They lived their lives as they saw fit, drinking and smoking and trying to do the best they knew how living the American dream. My dad also was a decorated war hero from Vietnam war where he flew into life-risking landings to save many marines from death or capture. But he was just my Dad to me. Even so I had a deep seated sense of darkness in my life where I felt I had no real purpose or meaning to my existence. Living along the beaches I used to let sand sift through my fingers thinking my own life was like just one grain of that sand among the many billions of trillions of grains of sand. During those years I had many nightmares of the ocean surf pulling and tugging on my legs and body trying to suck me out to sea. I often woke up at night terrified as my dreams went from playing on sand bars by the surf to crashing waves all around with my sandbar being engulfed with no way to escape. These were vivid enough for me to remember now at 56 years old!
I didn’t know at that point if others had those types of dreams or thoughts, so in many ways I felt alone in them and totally lost. These things began when I was like 8 or 9 and lasted until I was like 11 years old.
Looking back now, I see it all as the grace of God waking up my dead soul. Oh yes, I firmly believe like most humanity that we have eternity within us. The wise king Solomon of the ancient Jews once wrote as recorded in the Bible, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) There is something God seems to have put into all humans, unique among creation, that cries out we were designed for much more than what most of us experience or know in this life. We have been created with eternal spirits within us, we call this the soul, that is the essence of who we are. Something more lasting than these physical bodies alone can demonstrate. Thus the rise of millions of religions and people seeking spiritual significance.
I was no theologian back then, and had nearly zero training in any details of God’s truth, but somehow I knew He existed but I just didn’t know Him. My soul was somehow dark and disconnected from God because it was broken in ways I didn’t understand. Later on I learned it was what Jesus described as dead, separated from the life-giving Spirit of God that it was created to be infused with. Without knowing God, I searched for meaning and purpose vainly in my own ways, seeking self gratification and trying out what others thought was right, but nothing worked. My dreams continued; my sin and guilt for all the ways I dishonored and disobeyed my parents grew before my own eyes. Even though from the outside compared to others I was pretty typical kid, yet my awareness of my own depravity grew inside of me.
Indeed this was God at work in me, even though I did not know at the time. You see the sick need to know they are sick before they seek the cure. Many die for lack of seeking. God was helping me see the sickness of life without Him. God had chosen me and was doing something in me to awaken my dead spirit by bringing me to awareness of my need for Him and inability to fix my own darkness. Over the next couple years this struggle with self continued on. Then my father was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina AFB and we lived there for about 2 years. During this time my mother started attending the base chapel on Sundays and a Baptist preacher there spoke of God in truth and clearly as the Bible speaks. The pure good news of the Gospel messages rang true to my mother’s heart and soul and she dedicated her soul and life to follow Jesus. She was a new woman, and new mother, a joyful transformation that was so evident to all around her. She became the light of God to help illuminate the darkness of my own soul. She then began daily leading my sister, Cindy and I, in morning Bible studies and devotionals. Finally for the first time at age 11, I was hearing and seeing the truths of Jesus Christ speaking into my mind and heart like never before and it was quenching my thirst for God like nothing else, light was coming in and helping me make more sense of my depravity and my need for the Savior to redeem me and give me new life.
I soon realized I needed Christ and I wanted Jesus! I wanted that what my Mom found. I wanted hope! So I told my mom I was going to walk down that aisle at chapel and tell the preacher I wanted to be like her and to follow Jesus too! And I did that the next Sunday! That was 1974, and my life has never been the same! ♥️
God came in, washed away all my filth and flooded my soul with his goodness and light! It was all Jesus, the Living God filling me by His wonderful Spirit. The Bible calls it being born -again; born into God’s family by the sin debt payment of Jesus spilling his pure blood on the cross to buy my pardon. Jesus promised in his Word that he would separate my sins from me as far as the east was from the west, if only I would trust, put my faith, in Him, and when I did, I truly was set free! It was amazing!
Finally my dead soul had life and meaning and purpose and most of all, LOVE from the Father of heavenly lights.
While I still struggled with my old sinful self-loving nature, and I have messed up often since then, God in his atoning sacrifice came to make me pure before him in Christ and made his dwelling also with me to help guide me, encourage me, grow me, and make me more into His character and less into my old self. I am forever His, never the same by His mercy and generous undeserved favor!
I still have a long way to go, and perfection won’t be happening this side of Jesus coming again and the Resurrection of the dead. “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
How do I know you might ask? Because God has called me his son and put his Spirit within me that cries out “Daddy, Father!”. His Spirit testifies to my spirit this is true. (Romans 8:15–16)
The Bible makes this clear.
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'” -Galatians 4:6
That was my first major turning point in my life. Next message I’ll tell the story about the equally important second one. For anyone who may want to hear, let them hear. May God bless you with hearing Him through me.