What is a Chief Corner Stone and what is its importance? It is a term Christians and builders are familiar with, but few people understand its true meaning. However, women, because of their nurturing nature, are the Chief Cornerstone of the Home.
For a building-plan to be successful it needs to be properly transferred to the building site. First, you must establish points for site boundaries, foundations, column, centrelines of walls and other necessary structural points. Accurate setting out is the fundamental part of any successful construction as errors can be very time-consuming and expensive, or impossible to correct. Therefore, the layout needs to be done by an experienced person.
Relating this to motherhood should now have you in fits of laughter, for no one is ‘trained’ for motherhood. You don’t even know what the end building will look like, so good luck getting the foundation correct. A mother has just come through the harrowing experience of giving birth. As she lies holding the fruit of her labour, a cute little newborn, all thoughts of the drama are gone at the wonder of holding this perfect little human being. Suddenly, she has to become the ‘wise’ cornerstone with all the answers.
So begins the journey of building a life for this precious piece of humanity. In erecting a building, the advice is, make sure the laying out of the foundation is done by an expert.
How many mothers begin the journey, travel the journey, and end the journey as an expert? The answer: none, except to be an expert after the fact. It is just something most of us muddle our way through. Motherhood is like have a dozen juggling balls in the air at the same time. Some balls you can manage, while others are dropped. All you can do, is give of your best and pray it will all work out in the end.
Today, more and more couples are waiting until they are ‘older’ to have their first child. They want to be ‘established’ before they embark on parenthood. Hopefully that will give the ‘building’ more stability, emotionally and financially.
However, does that make them an expert? The short answer, is no, for if they are aged 40, by the time their child is 20, the parents are aged 60 and a world away from the young adult. There is a generational gap, though this does depend on the attitude of the individual parent. One is facing a lifetime of adventure, while the others are facing retirement, but there are retirees who are still young at heart.
Not only that, in today’s society we have become nuclear families of just the parents and the kids living in suburbia. This is the opposite of a society where the extended family was the norm with lots of grandparents, aunts and uncles to help. The nuclear family places a lot more responsibility on the two parents, who, in many cases becomes just one parent. So, the building structure is already under threat of collapse, and this is not a situation that can be fixed.
The Journey Begins
You have a plan, the site has been cleared, and all the levels and boundaries considered. The controlling points of the structure are then established, and in particular the cornerstone, so that the construction team can identify the key points of the building site.
The corners of the building are clearly marked, horizontal and vertical positions are made clear. You use stakes, batter boards with string lines, drill holes, cut-and-fill notations, and any other distinctive method. Imagine erecting a high-rise building if you haven’t established the baseline which will determine the end result.
How do we go on this journey of motherhood? Our benchmarks are normally what our parents, or others tell us. We can read books, search Google, or talk to other mothers, but for the most part motherhood is instinctive.
Failure or Success?
Is it any wonder most of us feel we fail, for the fruit of all our efforts is how our kids turn out. I have yet to meet the woman who feels she was a successful mother, as there are too many unknowns and too many uncontrollable ingredients to motherhood. However, always remember, there is a very fine line between success and failure.
It’s a wonder any of us start the lifelong process of parenthood, for there are enormous influences on our children, that will mould who and what they become. There are many hiccups, detours, and roadblocks to overcome and so much over which we have no control.
We need also to note that successful buildings have an architect. A person who is a skilled professional who plans and designs the building and usually plays a key role in the construction. In ecclesiastical terms, that would be the Heavenly Father. It is no accident that the term ‘father’ relates to parenthood. In our world the main expert we have is a doctor, or other specialist service.
Now to the ‘Chief Corner Stone’. This is the first stone that is laid and the most important stone of all. The entire structure will be built in relation to this stone. It has unique power, because it affects the entire structure.
Over time, the laying of the chief cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, set in a prominent location, on the outside of the building. It usually had an inscription indicating the date of construction, the names of the architect, the builder, and any other person who was prominent in the construction of the building. The imprint of a parent lasts long after the parent is gone.
Still, in many cultures, the laying of the cornerstone is a very important ceremony, with a lot of preparation work done prior to the ceremony. In eastern and church architecture the rite of laying a cornerstone is an important cultural component. In many cathedrals you are still able to find the cornerstone.
So, it is with the birth of a child. There has been a lot of preparation, from getting the nursery ready and the clothes, etc. The mother has nine months to prepare for her role as a cornerstone, yet there is no ‘ideal motherhood’, as we each have an individual road to walk. Still, the birth of a child remains a celebration.
When you stop to consider it, human nature is weird. There is an instinctive need to procreate, ready or not.
The Cornerstone Required Sacrifice
In modern Greece, it is custom to kill a cock, a ram, or lamb, and let the blood flow over the cornerstone. Afterwards, the animal is buried underneath the stone. Symbolically, this sacrifice gives strength and stability to the building.
Christ, the Chief Cornerstone, was covered in blood, from His back being ripped open through the lashing, and a crown of thorns thrust mockingly on His head. Then more blood was shed with the nail pierced hands and feet and finally a sword thrust in His side. His last words on the cross were “It is finished.” The sacrifice was complete.
In an ancient custom a person was crushed under the foundation-stone of a new building. This ensured the ‘angry ghost’ would haunt the place and guard it against the intrusion of enemies. At the death of the ‘Chief Cornerstone’ the religious authorities were satisfied. They believed they had crushed this rebel-rouser preacher and now His followers would be scattered. They didn’t count on Him being resurrected three days later.
Motherhood Demands Sacrifice
Motherhood has its own unique type of sacrifice. Who nurses the sick child through the night? Who tends the physical and mental hurts of the children and continues to look out for their safety? Who spends a lifetime surreptitiously caring for her children.
Motherhood means you lay aside your own desires in the necessity of dealing with the needs of the family. Modern mothers have a much harder role, in that they are often also a breadwinner holding down a job outside the home. This means childcare centres play an important role in child rearing, complicating things even more.
Characteristics of the Cornerstone
The chief cornerstone is the biggest stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone and a sure foundation. A stone that can be trusted and a stone that holds the entire building together. It sets the tone of the entire structure.
In ancient times buildings were laid out with astronomical precision in relation to the points of the compass. If the cornerstone was misaligned even a fraction, the entire building would be misaligned.
It is scary when you consider just how much influence a mother has on her children, be it for good or for bad.
There are four corners to the building, but the other three corners take their alignment off the chief cornerstone. Mothers are not the only factor in child-rearing, but she is the major guiding force. Her influence, conscious or unconscious, can never be underestimated. Even when she is not a ‘good mother’ her influence remains.
Of course, there are those who reject the influence of the cornerstone, which could lead to the collapse of the building. When children grow up and ignore the good advice their mother gave them, it will often be to their own undoing.
However, a mother’s advice needs to be followed with understanding. Watching a woman prepare a roast for the oven, she cut the shank off. When asked why she did that, the reply was, “It’s what mum always did.” The fact was her mother cut the shank off simply because she didn’t have a large enough oven dish.
Some cornerstones include time capsules. What was contained in the time capsule was literally set in stone. Similarly, whatever you achieved as a mother is set in stone, in that you can’t change it.
We all have “If only……” moments in our lives. Things we wish we could have done differently. Be encouraged, for life has many unseen quirks and twists and all you can do is give of your utmost. You did the best you could with the understanding you had at the time. It’s all too easy to look back with the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight.
Motherhood has its boundaries, which is something some mothers never learn. Don’t blame yourself for the way your children turned out. There are a lot of other influencing factors, from the genes your children have inherited, to their own desires and choices. Each child has the right to grow up and make their own decisions. It is important to note that the Chief Cornerstone is an influencer, not a controller, or manipulator.
In the Bible, Jesus Christ is referred to as the Chief Cornerstone, which few take time out to truly understand. Christ laid the foundation of what His body, the Church, should be built into. In too many ways the Church has become misaligned to its foundation with numerous manmade rules and regulations. Christianity, following the example of Christ, has been replaced by religion, with devastating results and mountains of false beliefs. Sadly, the majority of people cannot discern the difference between religion and Christianity.
It was the religious leaders of Christ’s day that rejected God’s Messiah. Religion has long been the archenemy of Jesus Christ.
The warning is that those who fall on the Chief Cornerstone will be broken and those the Cornerstone falls on, will be crushed. Individual Christians can also quickly become misaligned from the Chief Cornerstone.
The cornerstone is of vital importance if you want a strong building that will survive the test of time. Many buildings have lasted thousands of years, surviving wars and the trials of nature. While your voice won’t remain that long, your voice will be heard long after you think your sphere of influence has diminished. It will live on through your children.
As a cornerstone of the family, remain true to yourself and don’t judge yourself too harshly. You gave of your best and no one can ask anymore. Looking back through the lens of hindsight is not a reality.
To simply survive parenthood, with all its challenges is a miracle, so walk tall. Remember the good times and ignore the rest and know the healing hand of laughter.
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Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest.