Divine Designed Life Podcast

Episode #319 – Dream, Love, Know God

Don and Carole Nelson walking arm in arm

Dream, Love, Know God
Episode #319

With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow

(M) Well I’m not a daughter; that would have been a great experience. I’m just a friend. I’ve known Don a long time. When Carole asked me to speak that day, I about fainted, thought I cannot do it. But it was so wonderful and such a gift, because I had to stop trying and start thinking and praying and listening and remembering. And it turns out that I found out that Don, big Don really was a big man. And he’s left us a legacy, everyone of us. He’s left us an inheritance. And I want to be sure that today we take it away with us, because it’s rich. There are many fun things. No one loved food like Don but Julia Child. There were funny things and wonderful things, but there was an essence that don achieved in his life, that is our legacy. Holly said, “I thought I had twenty more years of him”; and I said I thought he was immortal, and that I would go first, because I’m older. So his going was a great shock, and it’s caused us all to think about life, and that there’s just this gossamer thread between ‘Here’ and ‘There’ that holds us all. It makes you remember that life is a priceless gift, and we just take it so for granted. And when you get down to it, life is only about two things, the choices we make, and the moments we live. So I want to talk to you first about the choices. There’s a woman named Bronnie Ware in Australia. She was a hospice nurse for fourteen years, living with the dying, listening to them, listening to their last thoughts and considerations, and above all, listening to their regrets. And she wrote a book, I have not read it, but I’ve read some things about the regrets that the dying face. First one that I’m going to talk about is, ‘I never pursued my dream’. That’s the first regret that seems to come forth. But Don not only pursued his dream, he pursued the purpose of God’s calling on his life. And to that purpose which he found out, he gave enormous sacrifice, incredible endurance. And I was speaking with a dear friend and I said I believe he died in faith like those in Hebrews twelve, not seeing the fulfillment, but I believe we will see the fulfillment of God’s dream; big difference between our dream and God’s dream. God’s dream’s better. And that’s what Don pursued. That’s his legacy to his children, their spouses, to his grandchildren. He found out God’s dream, and to that he gave everything. The second one it lists, ‘I wish I had loved more’. De Caussade said: “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love….time is eternity.” And the girls are right, Don loved. And Bronnie Ware said, “In the end,” in the conclusion, living with people who grieve and are seeing their last days, she said this one thing, “In the end it really comes down to how much you loved, how much love you’ve given and how courageous you have been in loving.” And that to me was a poignant word, courage; courage to love. Love is a risk. To love we can all do, but to continue in love, that’s few.  At seventeen Don fell in love with Carole Angier. And he exclusively, faithfully, delightedly, completely and unconditionally loved her till that last day, like few men. I’ll give you a story about that. Carole had a dream, because she’s Angier, she’s French. And she had a dream of speaking French and going to France. So that was Carole’s dream. It didn’t have any particular goal or ending. But I watched him supply that to her, obtain for her a scholarship to one of the most intensive French schools that the CIA and FBI use in Villefrance. So he got her to Villefrance, got her in the school, stayed there to cook for her. I got to go later and cook for her. And she studied French in France. He didn’t join her; it was her dream. But he paid for it, it made it happen, he supported it, he took his time, he took everything he had to give her her dream. That’s Don’s love. And you saw many pictures, and we’ve got many, many more pictures of their love. It was most unique. I think maybe in the end that will be the measure of who we are, did we have the courage to love. And I know that Don had no regret that he didn’t follow the dream that he knew. He would have had no regret that he failed to love. He was like, in our friends group and like you kid’s too, he was like a big bear. He would come at you, this big man, and he would growl, he’d say, “Where’s my girl?” And he gave this big hug. Well he loved men too. Once he gave his heart to love, he encompassed everybody in his world. His grandchildren; how he loved you. He loved men, Winton, Dale, Charles, Gary, he loved men in our group; and he wouldn’t say, “Where’s my girl”, then he would say, “I love you man.” (Martha laughs.) But he didn’t have any regret that he failed to love. To Don love was an investment, that’s how he loved. And he loved with big uninhibited love, with joyful love. And he loved everybody, genuinely. One of the third regrets is, ‘I wish I would’ve gotten to know God better.’ Well Don wouldn’t have that regret. Because we’re so prone to be content with this life and think it is so important, this life. And Carole had this, ah, kind of vision one time, and it has impacted me so much. She really felt like that we are all in the womb of God, and that this is not the Real-Life, this is the life to prepare for the life. That how we form this life is what we will be born into in the Real-Life. That some of us will be stillborn, some of us will be full grown, full formed. But Don has entered the Real-Life, he’s left the preparation life, and he’s entered the Real-life. And that’s what we’re here living for. So we’re building for another life. And so when he died, I don’t think don would have had any regrets of those three important things. He had a courage to face God in a way that few of us do. He got to the place where he could face God to tell him what was wrong with him, and what was his flaw, what was his problem. And he got to where he enjoyed it. He enjoyed being confronted so he could change. So I’d say he had the courage to love God, and then the courage to be loved. He had an enormous preparation that is pretty secret, in the last year, and especially in the last weeks. We look back on it and find that it is the most perfectly orchestrated preparation for his birth into his Real-Life. And one of the things that he greatly experienced in a unique way was the love of God for him. And Don got comfortable with the fact that God was always right, and he was wrong. Don got out of God’s chair and became a child of God. And it was a wonder to watch over the years. So Don chose to get to know God better, and that was intensified in the last months. That’s the best story. So those are the best choices in life. That’s your legacy, that’s your inheritance you could take today. Don did it, where few of us think about it. Lots of us would ‘like to’, but Don did it. And I believe that’s why when God took him, He took him quietly, peacefully, without suffering. And speaking of precious moments, I want to tell you some precious moments. They come to us, we have no idea at the time how precious they are, because we don’t know the next moment. I heard Roy Hession’s wife say this quote, “Now is the ever moving point of eternity, separating the past form the future, neither of which have any reality.” All we’ve got is ‘now’, this precious ‘now’. And Don did live this moment with relish like few people. Moments with his grandchildren, he said to me, ah, “I picked up the girls, and we went to the movies, and that’s what we like to do.” (Martha laughs.) He didn’t say I’m taking the kids to the movie, and I’m just going to live through it, and I’m doing it for them. No, he was with them very much as a ‘we’. He was as child-like as they were. He took Eli to Colorado recently, and wanted him to see the places where he and Carole lived. Last time I saw that, he was sitting in his big chair, and Ella was sprawled over watching T.V. and she had her little arm up to him, and they were watching a movie and she was holding his hand. And they stayed there for a long, long time. He had that kind of patience. Well Don was a soldier and a warrior and a Scotsman. And he always viewed life, kind of as a warrior. But moments happen that we only later realize, if we do, the significance. So last morning of 2012, the night before as was his custom he made a fire in the wood box for Carole; arranged it so that when she got up at four as she always did, that it would be nice and warm for her. So when Carole got up at four, she made a coffee pot for Don, and got her cup and sat down to get to know God better. Don came in later and she could hear him get his coffee and sit down in his chair. They were both in the same room, but they were very much alone, because they were getting to know God better. And Carole was writing something. She was writing something for our website Get Along With God dot com. She was reflecting on the year 2012 and she was crying because she was so grateful. She said, “Don, I want to read this to you.” “As I reflect on this past year, what stands out as paramount to me is the Lord’s unfailing faithfulness, His love, mercy, and His grace. As I sort through His dealings with me, the exposures of my heart, joys and conflicts, I see Him standing before me this morning, the Lamb of God, with His arms open saying, “COME!’ This morning He whispered to me, ‘Just as I Am.’” And she looked up the words to that famous song, and she read them with tears all the way through to him. Carole’s gift to Don was her love for God, living her life with the courage to get to know Him better. She did it brilliantly and valiantly, and it impacted Don to get to know God better himself. And so God came to Carole that morning and extended an invitation to her, the Lamb said ‘Come’. And Don was listening deeply, as he would, to the call of the Lamb in that poignant hymn. The last verse is: “Just as I am, without one pleas, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and Thou didst bid me come to Thee, Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.” And as Carole finished she heard the cup of coffee fall to the floor. And then at those words, at the call of the Lamb to come, Don began his entrance into his next Life. Carole called 911, roused him, “Don, get up, wake up!” He said, “Give me a towel”, to clean up the coffee; (Martha laughs) ever the servant. She said, “Don, I’ve called 911.” He said, “Get me my shorts.” So he put his shorts on and sat back down, and was unconscious again. He never revived, but he didn’t have regrets. He was a minimalist; he didn’t accumulate possessions for himself. He’d let you have them. But his was honed down to simple precepts, simple issues, who he loved, what he wanted to do for God’s dream. And what he would want to do to get to know God better. And so that’s he went. The Holy Spirit came and called them both to come to Him, as the Lamb. Carole has to come here to the Lamb. And Don answered the call. And God called him home through his wife, the love of his life. So to end I want to read Second Corinthians to you. “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down, when we die and leave these bodies we will have a home in heaven; an eternal body made for us by God Himself, and not by human standards. God Himself is preparing us for this, and as a guarantee He has given us the Holy Spirit. I think it would make Don happiest of all things if he knew that he was giving, even at his own funeral. And so I give you his inheritance and every one of us can take it and be changed and blessed by it. And I read to you this prayer in First Thessalonians. And I know it’s Don’s prayer, Carole’s prayer, for all of you here. “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns; God who calls you is faithful, He will do it. Amen.”

Dream, Love, Know God – Episode #319 – Shulamite Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *