A long time ago, I was not a member of the family of God, although I was brought up in a family in which God was honoured. The issue that kept me out of his family was my sin. Among those sins was the sad attitude that I did not want to be a member because I foolishly imagined that all God offered was a set of rules that inhibited life and led to boring experiences. I could not deny, however, that many Christians I had come across seemed very happy and content.
Still, there was a longing within me for satisfaction. The more things I tried, the more empty life seemed. Of course, this was subjective, but humans are subjective creatures. I needed to find out why nothing seemed to satisfy. To cut a long story short, eventually I realised that the problem was that I was looking in the wrong places for meaning. It was not until I realised that the problem was in me that real progress could be made.
I discovered that I was a sinner. This was not because I compared myself to other people and somehow worked out that I was worse than them. Instead, God taught me through various means that the problem in my life was me and he did this over a period of time by showing to me things like my selfish motives, my misplaced desires, and my foolish words. The problem basically was that I was the centre of my life.
During that time, many Christians spoke to me about life in the family of God. They pointed out to me that my sins could be forgiven, that my life could be guided by the Holy Spirit, that Jesus would speak to me through his Word (the Bible), that I could look forward to a heavenly home, and many other things besides. Thinking about those things made me realise that life in the family of God was far better than any other set of experiences.
So what does one do then? I did what the Bible says we should do in order to become children of God. John describes the process as receiving Jesus, which is a way of saying that he is offered to us freely. In the gospel, he tells us that we can have a real relationship with him, the living Saviour. The relationship we have with him takes place in the family of God.
Not everyone has the same experiences before they enter enter the family of God. Perhaps no one has exactly the same experiences as another. What matters is that we come into the family of God.
I don't know the date when I entered the family of God. That lack of detail does not bother me. What I will say is that what I was told about life in the family of God is true, that having him as my Heavenly Father and being numbered among his children is the greatest blessing that a person can have.