On Saturday, February 6, Cairn held its 4th Annual Upright Heart Ladies’ Conference in the Highlander Cafe. This year’s speaker was Mary Chase, who led two sessions: “The Inward and Outward Adorning of Women” and “Standing in the Midst of Simply Kneeling.”
The conference was kicked off with worship led by junior Alicia Pallero (social work major at Cairn) on vocals and Eric Marczely from Keystone Fellowship in South Jersey. After a time of praise and worship, Mary started the first session by asking the attendees to consider the ways in which they adorn their outward appearance. Drawing from James 1:23-24 and Ephesians 6:11, she challenged ladies to think about inward adornment.
Session 1: The Inward and Outward Adorning of Women
“We put our clothes on to get prepared throughout the day, but we forget our spiritual armor,” Mary said. “We must be intentional in our preparation in the morning, which means looking in the mirror of our hearts, keeping every thought captive, and taking care of our minds.”
Throughout the first session, Mary encouraged ladies to be intentional in their daily lives and routine. She introduced the specific areas in which ladies can adorn their inner selves: listening, speaking with grace, and seeing others for their true value.
Mary stated that there is a need for women in the body of Christ who not only talk but listen. Just as ladies decorate their ears with earrings, they must put on biblical ears to intentionally listen to their hearts. She also encouraged them to be mindful of their speech. She emphasized that their words have great influence: “The words we say will mentor one another. What we say about a sister will reflect her value. We determine our value based on words other people say about us.”
She warned ladies that gossip goes into the heart and urged them to put on the armor of God to guard themselves. Speech must be gracious and intent on reflecting other people’s value. As perfume leaves a scent, their conduct and speech leaves a fragrance. Citing from Proverbs 27:9 and 2 Corinthians 15:2, she called ladies to leave a delightful fragrance everywhere they go.
Mary then drew an analogy from eye makeup. As girls decorate their eyes with products like mascara and eyeliner, they must have eyes that see a beauty of others deeper than the physical appearance. Women are to have eyes to see other people through the lens of Christ, as people valued and loved by Him.
Concluding the session, Mary called for ladies to reflect upon how they will speak to others, leave an impression on them, and see people in their daily lives: “There is not one face of a person you will ever see in your whole lifetime who is not loved by God.”
Session 2: Standing in the Midst of Simply Kneeling
After the first session, the ladies enjoyed a short break of refreshments and sweets. During the break, Mary sat in the corner preparing for the next session and praying for the young women. After it ended, she began the second session about what it means to be a prodigal.
“Ladies often get in a mindset that a prodigal is someone who has strayed very far away from God for a long period of time,” she stated. “However, one becomes a prodigal the moment her heart is turned toward sin.” Mary warned the attendees not to become desensitized to sin or to compare their sins but rather to remember how God valued them before salvation.
“If I gave you 100 pennies and one of them was missing, how important would it be for you to look for that missing penny?” she asked. “Remember that you were not the 99 pennies. You were the one that was lost. Take value in that penny, and view others like that.”
She then talked about the struggles between a woman’s own lifelong ambitions and God’s will. Drawing from Psalm 139, she reminded ladies that He ordained every day of their life before they came to be. This includes the aspects of their lives they often plan out: relationships, marriage, and career path. Using puzzle pieces as an analogy for the different pieces of one’s life, Mary reminded the young women not to think that the pieces must fit together by their own desires but to know that God ordained the puzzle pieces before they were even given.
Mary summed up her point with a quote by C. S. Lewis: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
“Standing in the Midst of Simply Kneeling” was a call for ladies to give up their will for His. Kneeling means surrendering and dying to self. Mary emphasized humility and claiming victory in Christ. Her message encouraged women to live their lives differently and intentionally, while treating others in a way that reflects their value.
The conference ended with Nurse Alison, who organizes the annual ladies’ and men’s conferences, sharing her heart for the young women. She expressed her joy in seeing Cairn students stop by her office just to talk. As the ladies left the cafe, many of them took photos with Mary, hugged her goodbye, and received photocopies of her handwritten letter to them.
For more information about the Ladies’ Conference, contact Alison Kikendall at email@example.com.