Pastor David Cross’ lesson for our Sunday school class yesterday was from Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV). He explained how God wants us to walk with integrity and uprightness, to have a heart undivided—a simple heart. That is, a heart that is honest and full of devotion to God.
My grandmother had that kind of heart—a heart that was simple and honest and fully devoted to her Lord. I could never say enough good things about Dulcie Pauline Cotton Spencer, for everything that is good will find itself back to her eventually, describing her in some way.
I was reminded of Mama Dulcie’s simple heart recently when a cousin and I were reminiscing about our grandmother. Cindy Barnes Wilson’s mother and my aunt, Evelyn Spencer Barnes, the sixth of Jim and Dulcie Spencer’s seven children, helped Mama manage her money in her later years of life. Cindy said Mama Dulcie would frequently ask Evelyn “Did you send the children their money?” The children were the children of St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the money was Mama’s monthly check to those children sick with cancer. And don’t overlook that she categorized the money as belonging to the children; it wasn’t hers.
Some things hang on in our minds and linger for further pondering. Such was this small piece of information Cindy passed on while we were remembering our grandmother and her simple and upright heart. In my seventy plus years, I’ve never known anyone godlier than Dulcie Spencer. One thing I know for sure, giving to a charity would never have been about some way to receive a tax deduction. For Mama, it would have simply been for sick children who needed help. It would be what Jesus would want her to do.
Dulcie Spencer was never a woman of means and her monthly check to St. Jude Children’s Hospital was most likely of a small amount, yet I put Mama in the category of the poor widow of Mark 12:44 where Jesus said “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on” (NIV). Mama didn’t give all she had but she did give with that same kind of abandoned devotion to God. And if she had thought for one minute Jesus was asking her to give all she had, she would have and without a second thought. She was 100% the Lord’s. Her trust in Him was complete.
This past Saturday we had a Spencer cousin reunion with nine of the sixteen grandchildren there. Each grandchild’s life has been touched and formed by Dulcie Spencer in some way. We each have our own treasure box of Mama Dulcie Memories. And though we didn’t think to talk about this on Saturday, I believe it safe to say we would all agree on this descriptor of our grandmother: She loved God and she loved us—in abundance on both counts.
Mama died when she was 91. Her life here was doing just what Proverbs 4:23 said, for she guarded her heart and the flow from that good and simple heart benefitted us all.