I commend you. So many "questions" on here seem to be middle fingers and challenges, and the fact that you ask the question, pursuing God further, speaks well of you. It also means God is calling you.
You say that you believe, but it's hard for you to believe, isn't it? Cults are awful for doing this to people. People finding out that the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, Moonies, Hinduism, Theosophy etc., are false religions can have a lasting impact on their faith in the actual God. (18 YEARS of deprogramming?! Wow.) It's like an adult version of what finding that 'Santa' is fake does to some kids.
But you really can recover from any remnants of that AND be close to God.
What do you believe? It sounds like you believe the Judeo-Christian God is real. It also sounds like you believe that the Bible is God's word. All of this is very good for you. So much of it is provable now, that is sensible. How about we put those two things together.
Jesus the Messiah, was and is the Son aspect of the only God there is. (I'm sure God being three beings in one will make sense when we stand before Him, although I will put a link relating to some scientific thought on this below.) He is referred to in John 1 as "the Word", the Law and prophecy made flesh at last, as the Messiah. Through Him, God made all things. We are in God's likeness. Our whole experience is about choosing Him over all false paths and our personal growth, the way we need it, as beings. He prepares us for our life beyond this.
We ARE God's created children. He loves us, more than we realize the word "Love" can mean, and that is more than flowery prose. God takes that kind of caring interest in all of us.
The Son aspect of God chose to live life as a human, from before birth to His guiltless death and resurrection, so that He could provide a way out of the coming fate this fallen world will have. While this was happening, one of the people God thought about was YOU.
In one of Jesus' teachings, He promised, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
If we seek God, we will find Him. If we want to get closer to God, we can achieve that. It really IS what God wants. So, since God loves you, and He promises that if you seek Him you will find Him, where does that leave us? God does not lie. Your distance from God is a deception.
There is NO blame in what I am about to say. God is not the problem here at all. God is right there with you, right now. He IS calling you, or you would not be able to seek Him or see the value in that. If you are reaching out, and God is there, reaching toward you, then there is a VERY short distance to cover. The Adversary (Satan) and his servants would love for you to be discouraged, because that can make you withdraw spiritually. That's par for the course, and it would be magnified by your past cult experience.
Your discouragement is a trap. Instead, start reading the Bible some every day (start with the Gospels), then think about what you read and pray to God. Talk with Him like you would a Cosmic Father and like you would talk to a respected friend.
Thank Him for the things you do have, first. Then confess any sin to Him and ask for forgiveness, and then pray about your situation and your wants and needs. Do this daily, and you may soon discover yourself to be doing as Jesus said we should, to "pray without ceasing", to talk with God about many things informally through your week. You will become close to God.
Get rid of any resentment you have toward anyone. That and other on-going sins can hurt your ability to feel close to God.
If you haven't been baptized as shown in Jesus' example for us in Matthew 3, as obedience, for repentance, for forgiveness of sins, and as the "handshake" between you and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then do that. Baptism in other ways for other reasons just gets you wet. Obedience to Jesus in this way has the reward of our being given the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit brings feelings of peace and joy. I can personally attest to this, as well as His guidance and comfort. One time, I needed comfort very badly, and He was right there for me.
Find a good church. Worshiping together with them in sincerity will bring you closer to God. Be like the Bereans in Acts when it comes to any doctrine you hear, and compare it to the scriptures, instead of just following. You control your walk with God and Jesus is your only high priest.
You WILL become close to God.
Stay facing in God's direction, and get up every time you fall down. God loves you very much. Catch up to me in the life beyond this, and we will celebrate together.
Email me as you like, in the meantime. : )
http://www.returntogod.com/Science/Dimen... (String Theory. This is a simplified version of the higher dimensions concept. More likely than what they put forward here, God is a unique Being. Being three persons in one is His nature, and it sounds like He made some of the angels with simultaneous aspects of different creatures. Some higher dimensions may facilitate that simultaneous way of being. We don't have to fully grasp this, but I like that we're closer than believers of the past.)
Matthew 7:7-8 (Ask, Seek, Knock promise)
Matthew 3:16, John 3, Acts 2:38, more (Baptism as what it is, between us and God, as He wants it)