An Unlikely Hero: Why I Want to be Like Bertha

I wasn’t exactly looking for spiritual inspiration at the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum in Luray, Virginia.  Looking at old cars is not my thing, but our pricey tickets to Luray Caverns included free museum entrance.  Our family toured the museum which featured everything from some of the first baby carriages to more modern cars and everything in between.

While I was reading each and every word on the description plaques, as I like to do, God spoke to my heart about encouraging my husband’s dreams. Yes, right there in front of a very old car model in the biography of Bertha Benz.  I have heard of a Mercedes-Benz but never Bertha Benz .  I don’t know if she was a Christian(I would like to think so), but she took the first step that made her husband, Karl Benz a success in the automobile industry. 

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The article posted in the museum and confirmed on the Mercedes-Benz website shows some things about her character that all women should emulate. 

In the late 1800’s before anyone owned cars as we know them today, Bertha Benz and her two sons left Mannheim, Germany on a trip to visit her mother about sixty miles away. She would be taking the family’s three wheeler further than it had ever gone before.  There were no paved roads, service stations, or maps.

What’s the big deal about a 60 mile trip? You have to imagine what it would have been like for Bertha:

  1. Along the way, one son had to steer while Bertha and the other son pushed the car up the inclines.
  2. The car could go no more than 24 miles without having to stop for fuel. It didn’t come from a gas station but the apothecary as it was a substance used as a cleaning fluid. It was available only in small amounts, so there wasn’t always enough to fill up.
  3. She had to stop even more often for water to cool the engine.
  4. Bertha used her hatpin to unclog a fuel line and her garter for another repair. A chain in the back would often slip out of place.
  5. The trip began early in the morning and finished before dark. There were no lights on the car.
  6. Bertha sent a telegram to her husband as she travelled and when she arrived safely to her mother’s house.
  7. When Bertha arrived, a welcome party greeted her.  All were curious about the new contraption that brought her to town.
  8. Bertha stayed to visit for several days, often taking the “car” out on short trips. On the way home the brake lining went out, and she stopped to have the cobbler repair it.
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Karl was proud of his wife’s accomplishment. He learned from some of the problems she had, made adjustments to this model, and was able to become a leading automobile producer, later merging with another company to produce the Mercedes-Benz models.

I don’t know a lot about some of the technical terms and processes involved in turning Karl Benz’s simple three wheeler into the car it has become today.  His wife DID know something about cars. I wonder why.  Maybe HIS passion became HER passion. Maybe she LISTENED to him, WORKED with him and LEARNED from him.

What would possess Bertha to take a difficult and dangerous trip without her man to protect her and take care of the car problems along the way? She wanted to prove to the world and to him that his invention would be a success.  She believed, maybe even more than Karl did, that people would buy his product.

What about us, ladies? Do we believe in our husbands dreams? It probably seemed impossible that Benz’s funny looking contraption would ever amount to anything, but his strongest supporter made it happen.  Are we willing to work with our husbands to accomplish God’s plan for our lives? To support him when no one else will? To keep going when it seems we’re only pushing uphill? To be flexible and keep trying when life doesn’t go as planned?  

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Let’s get behind our men and change this world for God’s glory!

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  • 8 thoughts on “An Unlikely Hero: Why I Want to be Like Bertha

    1. Fantastic post, Rebecca! Thanks for this reminder to be supportive of our husband and to truly be the help meet (helper suitable) we were created to be. God bless you and your ministry!

    2. What an encouraging and well written article!
      I’ve been married 30 years but, I’m still learning from my beautiful young niece.
      Thank you

    3. Really enjoyed your post!!! And great reminder that the Lord can speak to you in some unlikely places/ways!

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