by: Nate Shelton @Iam_NateDogg

As with every good restoration story, there is definitely some background that needs to be understood. 

To explain exactly what God has done for me in my life is no different.

For starters I was born with Infantile Emphysema; basically, the air sac in my left lung would expand but not contract. Doctors removed the lung three days after I was born. I spent the first two years of my life in and out of the hospital with pneumonia. Fortunately, my parents were Christians. My dad would even one day become a pastor.

As I grew older I developed scoliosis which made it hard to fit in…at least from my viewpoint. I fought hard to be just like everybody else.

I was made to wear a back brace 23 hours a day. Obviously, this made it harder to be “normal”.

I found myself doing silly stuff to make friends such as running around our small town, doing random stuff at the age of six or seven without telling my parents. As I grew older this developed into a bigger problem, for example in high school some that I thought was a friend encouraged me to smoke pot. I ONLY HAVE ONE LUNG!

He also introduced me to pornography, something that became an addiction I battled up until last year.

I became a chameleon, fitting in with whatever group I was around at the moment (all things to all people right?).

I met my wife who also happened to be my first girlfriend. I had always felt like I wouldn’t date unless it was the girl I was going to marry. Great plan and a worthy goal, but I turned this into my desires and we began having sex. It wasn’t that bad, we were going to get married right? Naturally, my future wife got pregnant with our first son and we decided to get married because that was the right thing to do. So it seemed.

Our relationship has been a struggle throughout – which brings us to my restoration story.

Seven years ago my wife and I hit a really bad spot in our relationship. I had co-workers I thought were my friends giving me advice *chameleon mode activated*. One co-worker, in particular, I became attracted to and she loved to play along. I decided that in order to fit in with this group I would go out clubbing with them.

I had never drank before in my life, but that night I drank everything under the sun.

I never felt drunk just buzzed. This should have been a sign of bad things to come. I fell in love with the lifestyle and began going out with this group as much as I could. This meant that my co-worker and I would go out together and she was always tempting me to chase women. Fortunately, I was too chicken.

As this happened the relationship with my wife deteriorated more. I chose my co-worker over my wife…I moved out.

At first, I lived with my sister-in-law and her husband. They thought this would help, but I used it as an easier way to go out with my side-chick. We never became physical, but emotionally I was attached. We sexted constantly. Eventually, I was told to move back home. I hated this and a cousin eventually offered to let me stay with them.

This arrangement lasted for another couple of weeks until they too said that I needed to move again. You would have thought that I would have begun to wake up. My aunt and uncle offered me their house though and I gladly took them up on the offer.

I stayed there for a summer and the drinking/clubbing continued.

Just as before they told me I could no longer stay there as I was simply taking advantage of them. I moved back home and chose to sleep on the couch. You can imagine the mental toll this was taking on my kids.  

I kept on meeting with my side-chick, sexting, clubbing, you name it. The whole time my work was suffering. I was demoted from my position as a department manager and was made to cashier. It didn’t matter; I still carried on and eventually was fired.

I was pissed. I got my last check and told my wife I was going out to the clubs. I met my co-worker downtown to drink and we even planned to sleep together at some point that night.

Thankfully God stepped in and had other plans.

I only remember flashes of that night as I blacked out early. The next recollection I have is waking up in her car with a security guard asking if we were okay. I got out of her car, got into mine, and preceded to head home. I blacked out again and didn’t come to until I was pulling into my driveway. As I did the police lit me up.

I was straight up and told them I was drunk. Evidently, I had used some choice words because instead of just drying out and going home with a DUI, they made me stay the weekend until my arraignment.

I called my wife begging her to use my last paycheck to bail me out. She stayed strong and told me “no”.

After all of this, you would think that I would be straight and crawl back to God. I did stop drinking (haven’t had another drink to this day), but I still had contact with my now former co-worker. A family friend told my dad that he would meet with me.

He had grown up on the streets of San Diego and had struggled with drinking and drugs. He counseled me and I started listening.

One night my wife and I had a huge fight and I called him. He offered his place for the weekend. He stated that I was there to work on myself and to go to church.

All day Saturday I worked through the 12 Steps. I wrote down everything that triggered my turning to drinking along with the issue with my wife. Still, I communicated with this other woman.

The culmination being going to her place for her birthday where we were alone and things got on the verge of being physical. She stopped me and not long after my wife sent me a text wanting to know where I was. I lied and told her I was with my now mentor.

A few days later I was at my mentor’s house talking and his brother showed up. As we were talking I said, “I don’t understand why my wife is so mad with me. I am being honest with her and telling her that I still talk to this girl.” His brother stated the obvious, “It’s not just about being honest, you have to cut out what is causing the problem.”


From that moment I never had contact with her again.

Praise God that my wife didn’t kick me out and allowed me to stay a part of the family. As I grew through all of this I realized that I needed to go back to church. I had no idea where to go and my family gave me several ideas. I got a flyer in the mail for a church called One Love. I decided to check it out. I was familiar with the pastor and my oldest had friends there.  My wife and I quickly fell in love and this became our home.

My growth blossomed as I made my relationship with God personal and not just believing because my dad was a pastor.

I continually worked on myself, my faith, and I fell in love with CHH. I discovered Lecrae and this opened a whole new world for me. I discovered more music through Rapzilla and other platforms. 

Last year I learned that Indie Tribe was coming to my area.

I quickly got tickets for my wife and I to go to the show. I was stoked to be able to meet Dyl and Jarry. I especially connected with Jarry as we seemed to talk forever. A couple of days later I expressed a desire to become involved with the industry in some way. He suggested starting a Twitter page and promote artists. I jumped on this and watched as my platform grew quickly.

I saw God moving all throughout this process.

I connected with so many artists and people within the industry. I have made so many real friends and was even offered a position with Trackstarz as an Account Manager for Nectar Distribution.

God has restored me and blessed me even more than I could possibly have imagined.

Please…if you find yourself lost, messing around with people you know do not have your best interests in mind…God has a plan for you. He can restore you!

I struggled my whole life wondering about my purpose. It took being a prodigal son to realize what God’s plan is for my life. Don’t let things get to the point that I did. Find people like I did with my mentor. Someone that will tell you what you need to hear; regardless of if you want to hear it or not. God has a plan for you. Search and He will show you!.

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