Yesterday I received a call from a dear old friend who has been and is a prime example of a Titus 2 woman in my life. I have memories of Sunday afternoons with this dear German couple, Heinz and Brigitte, as we often shared a roast around the table. I can still hear this brother say in his thick German accent as he piled his plate with pork roast, “I am so glad I am not a Jew”.
Following our meal, the kids would head to the guest room where the bottom drawer of a dresser was packed with children’s books. They would crawl up on the sofa to read or page through these books as Tom and Heinz sat in recliners going over the scriptures of the morning and Brigitte and I would visit at the sink while working through the pile of china that had been carefully set for our special meal together.
One line that she shared during one of these visits has been a mantra for me through these past 28 years of bringing up our children: “Be sure not to neglect your own vineyard.” As mothers at home we often feel shame for not doing enough as if tending to the huge responsibility of bringing up these dear ones entrusted to us is not enough. As I would be asked to take on certain tasks through the years, I would always ask if that would take from my time caring for our vineyard which could make way for little foxes to come in. “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15
Our phone call yesterday emphasized again to me the importance of mothers nurturing their own vineyards. As we visited I was eager to ask her about Heinz’ involvement with Hitler’s Youth while growing up in Nazi Germany. I wondered how he, a youth then from a Christian home, was impacted by this fierce indoctrination. With two children now in public high school I often consider the influence of the strong indoctrination of “tolerance” that is of our day.
“As a teenager seeking his independence, he was quite enthusiastic about this enlightenment.” she said. I couldn’t help thinking about our natural desire to exalt ourselves and how knowledge “puffs up”. It is no wonder that when I did a quick search for verses on humbling oneself my search engine returned 73 hits. Oh, how I can imagine the prayers of his dear mother.
What Brigitte said next encouraged me and I hope it encourages you as well. She said, “Heinz believed God used the prayers of his mother and the words that had been instilled in his heart at a young age to help him see through these lies.” “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 I am happy to share that Heinz spent many of his adult years traveling through the US and Canada preaching Christ and spent several years as a missionary in Malawi, Africa.
Toward the end of our discussion I shared how I have been surprised by the recall of lines of hymns that come to mind lately that I didn’t realize were etched in my memory. “You know what’s really surprising to me?” she said, “I am not being reminded of the English hymns from all of my days in America but the German hymns of my childhood.”
Enjoy tending to your vineyards, Dear Mammas. Your labor is not in vain.