. . . take root downward and bear fruit upward. (Isaiah 37:31 ESV)
My grandmother’s Bible was a treasure beyond any price. I had hoped as her oldest grandchild that I might inherit it, however I never discussed that with my grandmother or my mother and so in the end it didn’t come to be.
What made Mama’s Bible so revered? She poured and prayed over its words daily. Her gentle, but sure hands caressed the pages. She wept and rejoiced, she trusted and she practiced. She did what Isaiah said: took root downward and bore fruit upward.
I’ve never known anyone that Jesus was as real to as He was to Dulcie Spencer. She sang songs to Him throughout the day and talked to Him as if He were right at her elbow. I’ve walked into her home and overheard her talking and thought she had company, only to find out it was no visitor but her best friend and permanent resident: Jesus. Mama relied on Him completely for every matter and that reliance gave her a radiance that cannot be duplicated by anything of this world. Mama had a heavenly glow.
My grandmother had no earthly riches. She lived a simple life, but a life marked with beauty because of how she lived it. Mama’s standard was to do exactly as God’s Word said for her to do: she loved God with all her heart, soul, strength and mind; she loved her neighbors as herself; and she believed God’s word that when we trust Him completely, He will never forsake us. Mama’s family saw and respected that trust. I believe we were all, in fact, hugely affected by her rock-solid trust in God. My earliest memory of Mama is of her kneeling by her bed for prayer at end-of-day, long dark braids falling down her back and over her homemade gown. Mama always prayed aloud and just as I have visual remembrances of Mama, I have auditory ones, too.
When I married in 1989, Mama wasn’t physically able to be with us so she sent her Bible to me for the ceremony. I can’t think of better representation of this woman that I loved more than ever I could express.
Though I didn’t get to keep the book she loved above all others, she did give me her faith and for that I am eternally grateful. Mine isn’t as beautiful as hers, but it is as confident. And what she passed on to me, I passed on to my daughter Kristi. I know because I have witnessed it.
I truly cannot imagine my life without this great woman’s influence. I have often said if I could choose to be like anyone in the world, it would be my grandmother. I wish I could say I had lived a life like hers, but I can’t. My journey has been one of much stumbling, failing, and starting over, however no one’s persuasion of faith has had a greater hold on me than that of Dulcie Spencer. I thank her for showing me a Jesus she never doubted and pointing the way to heaven’s door. You are my crown jewel, Mama.
Here are a few lines from a letter Mama wrote to her children not long before she died in 1991 at 91 years of age: The dear Lord has been so good to our family. I can’t thank him enough and that he lives in me all the time. I’ve prayed to him all my life and He answers my prayers day and night. Please don’t grieve after me when I’m gone for I’ll be safe with our dear Lord and all my loved ones in heaven.