Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
                  It’s been over 13 months since I moved to Gettysburg and it’s been a better and more beautiful adventure than I ever could have imagined. God has been so good to me and I love dreaming with Him about all that’s still ahead. As many of you know, I am now serving as the assistant director of Gettysburg Master’s Commission, the discipleship and ministry training program I was a student in last year. There are really great days and really hard days but every day is done with God and that’s why I love this job. This year I’m joining with 9 young adults as they make the lifelong choice to be disciples of Jesus Christ. I get so much joy out of watching them come alive in ministry as they experience that God has given them special interests, personalities, gifts and dreams that can all be used to live life with Him and reach people for Jesus. Today I’m writing to tell you about one more part of this ministry.

                  This coming January, I’ll be joining God and a team of about 30 other people on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. Our church, Freedom Valley Worship Center, is partnering with many churches from the DR and a few from the states to run a festival called “Esperanza para la Cuidad” (Hope for the City). This festival will draw thousands and present the Gospel in powerful and creative ways to the people of the DR. My team will mostly support the presentation of the Gospel through prayer, street ministry, connecting with local churches, and the set-up and teardown of the festival. I am so excited about this opportunity! I am so thankful that God is making it possible for me to join with him in loving and reaching the nations.

                  I’d like to invite you to join with me, and with God’s heart, in this mission to the DR. There are three major ways you can support me:

1. Pray for me! I am asking God to break past my expectations, take me out of comfort zones I don’t even realize I have, and to use me to share the freedom found only in Jesus. I want to be God’s arms in comforting the broken, taking the cane from the healed person, and hugging the believer as they rejoice in the new things God is doing in their life. I am believing God for health on the trip and fresh vision as the trip approaches, that my heart would be united with God’s love for the Dominican people. For all of this, I need prayer.

2. Support me financially! The total cost for my trip will be $1,500. I’ve been amazed so far to see the sweet and unexpected ways in which God is providing. Would you consider giving to this trip? You’re not just buying a plane ticket or covering a fee, you’re partnering with God as he prepares me to go out and share the love of his Son with lost people. I believe He will bless you for your investment in missions and that through giving; you are as much a part of the mission as I am in going.

3. Visit my shop! All profits will benefit my trip to the DR. I’ll be selling items I sew, craft, and draw online at facebook.com/bl.chase. Please feel free to request anything I can make for you!
Thank you so much for considering the ways you can support me on this new adventure. God is so good to me and I could talk forever about the way He has made me come alive and blessed me so abundantly. It’s truly an honor to be able to go abroad, share the truth of who Jesus is and how beautiful (no matter the circumstances) life can be when you know and follow him. If you’re able to support me through prayer or financial giving, please let me know. I will then provide you with giving information. Prayer requests will regularly be posted to my Facebook account to keep you updated!

Thank you, friends and family for your generous hearts and all your love. I would love to bless you in return. If I can answer any questions or tell you more about this trip and what God’s doing in my life here in Gettysburg, please, please, please get in touch with me! 
                                               
                                   Love,
                                           Bonnie 

phone:(717) 802-2415 -- email: bonnie830@comcast.net 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thank you.

Tonight as I was getting ready for bed, I opened my journal and did something a little different. I just started writing a list of things I'm thankful for. I had a hard time stopping and it just filled my heart with so much joy and an overwhelming gratefulness for who God is in my life.

I want to share a handful with you.

Tonight I'm so thankful for...

Number 1. My Mom visiting last Saturday night to come to the Johannes Amritzer service. I was beaming having her with me. I like showing off what an awesome lady I got to be raised by. :) After a powerful service, Mom stayed in Gettysburg to take Luke and I to the Lincoln diner. That makes for one happy Bonnie.Talking in a diner booth, eating breakfast at night with two of the most wonderful gifts God has ever given me. It was so good to be with you both.

Number 2. Surprise run-ins with Luke in the middle of a long afternoon filled with meetings. He is just the most fun and refreshing person to be around. What a good boyfriend I have.

Number 3. A chance to spend this coming Saturday with my friends Kimmy and Laura. What sweet, sweet, laughter-inducing girls. We'll be spending a big part of the day at Plato's Closet and a mall with Anthropologie. Lots of pretty coming up. :)

Number 4. The sun rises on the way into school this week have been beyond beautiful. I asked God to give me the ability to do artwork some day that would glorify him like those sun rises do. A morning drive spent talking to God about how beautiful his skies are and how beautiful what he's doing in my life is... that's a great way to start the morning.

Number 5. Isaiah 54. I'm just loving and clinging to that passage as a whole this week. (Verse 10. ah.)

...and sooo much more.
Thank you, God for hearing every word of my thankfulness tonight.
I like being talkative in times like this. :)
Most of all, I'm so thankful for Your love for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

diy: Earrings and Hair Pins

  earrings made with buttons, fabric, thread, earring posts, and just a little super glue

 one of my favorite things to make: flowers made with felt, thread, beads, a little fabric, and a bobby pin


Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Step Closer to Gettysburg

* This post is in response to Jeremiah and Cori Herbert (pastors of the intersection church in Gettysburg, PA) sharing of how they personally do evangelism and discipleship. They spoke in my college class called "Developing Outreach and Discipleship". Enjoy! :)


The Holy Spirit is turning the wheels in my heart and mind tonight for outreach and discipleship after conversing with Jeremiah and Cori in class this morning.

I took pages of notes, but with only 250 words I'll have to be pretty picky about what I write. About halfway through class, after our break, Jeremiah and Cori sat down with us at the table and asked about where God is leading each of us in ministry. I shared God's call on my life for counseling and my love of what I'm doing now with bringing students into ministry and starting the active discipleship process with them. I'm not sure where that will all specifically lead... but I know something else for sure. God has made my heart for the town of Gettysburg.

Jeremiah and Cori's heart for loving and giving to Gettysburg inspires me. Beyond that even, it makes my heart come alive. Like the Holy Spirit was reminding me of how exciting ministry gets when I ask God to make me his partner in reaching the people that we (God and me) love with the gifts and passions and beautiful vision that he's given me (and wants to keep growing in me as I use it).

As we left the grocery store tonight, I told Luke a lot about what the Holy Spirit was doing in me during our class today. I told him I've always been a little frustrated and even discouraged about my involvement in evangelism. I have a hard time connecting with the idea of doing my evangelism with door to door methods or other "in and out quick" techniques. I'm very, very open to opportunities to pray over someone I don't know on the street or follow a word God gives me... sometimes for me it's just harder to really apply that to my everyday life. The Herberts are confident that God uses them most effectively through relationships to evangelize the lost. Luke and I believe this is where we're at, too. Our hearts really connect with the lifestyle of building relationships in our community to evangelize... which then turns into discipleship.

I felt so, so hungry during class for God to open the door in my life to relationships with the unsaved in Gettysburg. I spend almost all my time around Christians doing ministry at Freedom Valley. And that's ok. I know I'm in the right place... but I am so excited about some of these wheels God is now turning in my head. Jeremiah said he went through a season of being really frustrated about just being around people who already love Jesus. He saw that when he was willing to go out of his comfort zone and take that step to build relationships, God blessed him, led him to people and people to him.

During class I had a few images and ideas I believe the Holy Spirit was using to speak to me about these areas of my life. Starting tomorrow, Luke and I are going to go to the ragged edge or another down town coffee shop on the morning ( or evening) of our day off and just sit. We'll use it as time to spend together, time to talk, pray, read... time to let God just connect our hearts over and over with the people, culture, and "everything" of Gettysburg. I'm praying that as we consistently go to 1 or 2 places, we make connections. I'm praying that we'll start to talk with employees and have opportunities to just love people and, while God ministers to our hearts, minister to the people of the town we just love so much. We're both seeing God highlight our creative gifts and really believe He'll use that to reach our generation. Coffee shop environments are so great for connecting with creativity... God is up to something very, very good. :)

I think this seemingly simple step is going to open big doors for us. It feels good to follow His leading. So here's to going after God-given dreams and many prayer times and conversation times to come. :) I'm sure I'll have updates soon about how God uses this is Luke and I's lives. Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

June.


I made this post (just the title and photo) back in the middle of March when Luke and I still had about two and a half months before we would start dating. 

I could barely contain myself with the thought that this boy cared for me and that one day soon, I'd be his girlfriend. I wanted to tell everyone. 

I am so glad that June came and so, so glad that every day since then, Luke has been my boyfriend. I grow in excitement about us being "us" more and more each day.

Every day with him is so much sweeter than even I could have dreamed. :)

I love you. And I am so thankful for all the Junes that we have ahead of us, together. 

A Morning Run.

 Jeff Deitrich of Freedom Valley South Hanover shared an awesome sermon tonight at church.
A quick story he told somewhere in the middle really caught my attention.

A married couple Jeff knows wakes up every morning to run four miles. Well, every morning the wife runs four miles. Some mornings the husband stays behind. The man asked his wife one morning how it was that every single morning she made the choice to get out of bed and begin a four mile run.

Her response was that she doesn't make the choice every morning. She made the choice years ago. Every morning she simply decides not to second guess it.

She understands that the original choice was one that benefits her. She made it with a sound mind and an understanding that the hard work would be worth getting out of bed when she's as comfortable as can be.

This is living by principle rather than living by feeling.

Sometimes my prayer life frustrates me. Well, I guess sometimes I frustrate myself with the choices I make about my prayer life. Often my choice to spend time in prayer versus doing something else just comes down to what I feel like doing more. Just like the wife knew running was good for her, I know I NEED prayer. I know I am desperate for time alone with God and that very often as soon as I begin to pray, I wonder why I was so hesitant to push other things away before and just be with God.

I think this is a good challenge to start making decisions sooner. God is so ready and willing to help us decide how and by what standards we'll live our lives... if we'll just let him. He's a good, loving father who doesn't want us to live frustrated or live thinking we have to be flaky and controlled by feeling all the time.

God, tonight I choose to slow down and let you counsel me about the standards by which I make my decisions. I'm so thankful for your protection and guidance in my life but I know I'll have a lot of tough decisions in the future... and I want to be ready. You are so good to me, God. So patient and so kind to someone who tries to do things herself way too often. Thank you for loving me endlessly and caring so much about me that you want to help me instill these principles in my life now. I want to live my life with you making decisions that I can be proud of and that make even more room for my life to be full of all your goodness.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Few Favorite Things

Just a few pictures and links I want to share with you this morning...

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In this post I wrote a little bit about why I keep encouraging notes on display in my room. I'm sure this would have a similar effect.

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I thought these were little pillows when I first looked at them... they might not be. But they're adorable. Houses are my very favorite thing to draw. I think the detail on these would make them fun to sew, too.

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One of my favorite memories from being a little kid is taking trips to the craft store with my Mom. I went through a latch hooking stage where getting a new latch hook set would have been the most exciting thing ever. I tried cross stitch (like the picture above) a couple times, too. When I saw this picture for the first time, I told myself I should start a cross stitch this summer. I love having a project like this to keep my hands busy.

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Brad Leach, a church planter in Philadelphia, wrote a great post called "Uncertainty is Good For You". You might not believe it... but this post will change your mind. This week I'm going to allow God to soften my heart and increase my faith with this lesson. Take a minute to read it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I woke up this morning in a slump.

I was feeling negative and just a little discouraged. I'm really thankful for how quickly the morning changed, though. Sometimes when I wake up feeling like this, I allow it to last hours. But not today. :) God got a quick hold on my heart and helped me get some much needed perspective.

Honestly, most mornings I wake up feeling that way, it's a result of how I used the moments before I fell asleep. It's about what the condition of my heart was and what I allowed it to be. There's a big question: Did I read my bible? (Or 'Was I willing to listen to God instead of just going to sleep?') I'm NOT making this legalistic... I just know my heart can go in a bad direction really fast and I need all the encouragement and truth I can get to keep it pure and on the right track. God really wants to help us with that.

This morning as I made my bed and cleaned up my room a little bit, I was reminded of something by the Holy Spirit. When I feel this way, the solution is to be purposeful.

Let me say one thing... being purposeful is NOT the same as being busy.

In fact, being busy is probably the worst thing I can do when I feel like I did this morning. Want to know why? It's because I knew the empty, negativity I was feeling was simply a hunger to be with God.

I want to share a couple things that really helped me this morning in getting free from the slump I woke up in. I don't think I'm the only one who experiences this. And I know we don't have to live every day just ignoring how awful our hearts feel by being busy.

1. Make a decision to purposefully get out of the slump.
Half-hearted attempts don't usually work out. They just keep the cycle of discouragement going longer.

2. Clean up your environment.
For some reason, being purposeful about making the area around me look nice and restful really prepares me to take care of the condition of my heart, too. It gets my day going. I have to get out of bed and start improving something. It takes me out of the mindset of just letting things take their course. (It makes sense to me! :) )

3. Close the computer, stay away from the phone. 
Opening facebook and checking emails becomes way too distracting for me. Some mornings I'll be so confident that I want to start my day with prayer. But by the time Facebook is opened and I'm done thinking about the emails I just followed up with, I end up just wanting to be busy. I'd rather "do stuff" than share my heart with God and hear from him about his. It's really important to embrace that stillness we have in the morning... it's an awesome time to prepare for the work of the day.


4. Pray and write.
Just share with God what's on your heart. What has most of your attention and gets you excited right now? I get so excited about prayer all over again when I remember that God desires to give me wisdom and better insight into what I'm facing if I'll just listen. In prayer and listening, all of our plans, our relationships, and our thought life are refined and made much more beautiful. Journaling is a big thing for me. I spent a long time this morning doing the same thing I did in prayer. I finished writing feeling so encouraged. God is really, really good to me. He is to you, too... we just have to purposefully reflect on all we're seeing him do.

5. Be Encouraged.
This one has to do with your environment, too. Keep things in your room that remind you of how good God is. Our hearts naturally go toward selfishness. I keep cards on my window sill from some of the biggest encouragers in my life. They remind me why relationships, my faith, and the dreams God has given me are worth all the work and self discipline they require. (And they're pretty.) :)

6. Share what you learned.
That's what I'm doing here. I'm convinced that when God teaches us something big, especially something that is key to getting out of a trap we've found ourselves in before, the best thing we can do is teach it to someone else. We take ownership of that lesson and we help other people get free. We think through it in greater depth and understand why it works so well. It's the idea of pouring out what God gives to you so that you can receive even more from him.

Hope this helps!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All Things GMC

It's been almost a month since I last blogged, and it's been a big, wonderful, change-filled month.

May went pretty quickly... my Gettysburg Master's Commission team traveled to and around Armenia for about a week and a half. They did worship services, teaching, leadership training... and from what I hear... a lot of eating, too. I was told several times how hospitable and generous the Armenian people were to them. My good friend Kimmy and I stayed in Gettysburg and spent the week doing work around the church. It was great to have that week with Kimmy. Every time I spend time with her I become more and more aware of how blessed I am to have her in my life. Not sure that anyone can make me laugh or do weird things like she can.



The team returned and we wrapped up our final week together here in Gettysburg. There were great prayer times, lots of laughter, a photo shoot at the battlefields, a cookout, and, for me, many moments of looking at each of my 5 team members thinking "I won't have this much longer..". What an incredible team I had this year. I love each one of them and I'm so thankful for the way I saw them grow and for the way God used them to grow me.


We graduated on May 22nd in what I thought was the most perfect graduation ceremony. Simple. We started with worship. Then Lance spoke and addressed our team, using the metaphor of the shaping of an arrow and the shaping of a disciple that he shared with us our first week at Master's, all the way back in August. Gerry spoke out of 2 Timothy where Paul encourages Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God that was in him. We were each called to the stage where Lance spoke to us individually about what He saw God do in us this year or how we impacted his life and the team. They were some of the most meaningful words I've ever received.


After receiving our diplomas and a gift from Lance, the pastors and staff at Freedom Valley prayed over us. Then we were done. Graduation closed out as we were congratulated by friends and family and some of the team said a few "final goodbyes" (at least until next year :)



That afternoon standing in the sanctuary I really felt released into my calling and into the future. It was a powerful year. I learned more about faith, leadership, ministry, and relationships than I ever could have expected. Daniel, especially, spoke into my life in ways that stirred up God-sized dreams in me and confirmed that I am headed in the right direction. He spoke to Luke and I saying "This (motioning to the two of us) is good. You need someone like him and he needs someone like you." Sounds simple... but moving forward into the future and into the ministry God is calling me to... I'm so glad it's with Luke.

I said goodbye to my team and cried a little with Kimmy. Just because I love her... I wasn't really sad at all :) Lunch at Montezuma's with my family and Luke followed by a Catalyst leadership meeting closed out the day.

Three hours after graduating... a few of us began planning for Gettysburg Master's Commission's future. This summer I'll be staying in Gettysburg, working part time, and working on a team that's developing and strengthening the program. More on that to come.. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Moved and Consumed.

Only two weeks from today, I'll be graduating from my first year of Gettysburg Master's Commission.



 A few days before I moved to Gettysburg, toward the end of last August, I started to get nervous. Nervous about leaving my family, mostly. As it often goes, one fear led to another and I began to feel pretty uneasy about the fact that soon I'd be moving away from home. 

I think I was driving home one night (or listening to pandora... either one) when this song came on the radio. I tried to find one for you to watch, but youtube lyric videos are either cheesy or really ugly... so i'll leave it up to you...

You Can Have Me- Sidewalk Prophets

"When did love become unmoving? When did love become un-consuming?... Father of Love, You can have me."

The truth of this song did something really good for me in those last few days at home. I was confident that Master's Commission was the right choice... confident that Gettysburg was where I was supposed to be. I don't remember doubting that much at all that month. I just started to wonder if I was even able to do what God had called me to do.

It's funny looking back on that now. Not because those fears were silly or childish... I love my family. But growing up happens and, honestly, I'm not sure I've felt homesick more than 2 or 3 days all year. 

God provided, comforted, and matured me when my only other option was to be consumed by my fear.

He's so good.

So here I am now. It's almost the middle of May and the first year journey is nearly over. I'm thankful beyond what I may be able to express in words that God called me here. Leaving family was a huge concern before the program started. But God helped me overcome it (and every other fear or excuse that could have gotten in the way, too).

The year has been beyond the goodness of what I could have expected. Sure, some days were very challenging... but the Lord really kept my call to Gettysburg in front of me the entire time. I'm encouraged today, as I take a next step into the summer and the next year in Gettysburg, to be moved and consumed by God's love again. As I make plans and choices that will decide what these next few years look like... I want to move past all fear and concern once again. Because God had something reallllly good waiting here in Gettysburg.

Lots of good things, actually. :)

And what he's preparing me for is even better.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Be slow to speak, quick-speaking mouth.
Your pride and self-seeking are fading.
Purity and life echo from you.

Filth and dust, dirt and "nothingness"
They don't belong.
Filled with peace and grace,
You can speak life.

Nothing else is your task.
Source of comfort and life,
Inspire these lips.
Lips, be mistaken for His.


(Life Form.)

Civil War Chapel.

I'm so grateful for the beautiful prayer time our team had this morning. When I asked the Lord who our team should pray for, He spoke "orphans and widows". He led me to James 1:17-29 (Read it! I even linked it for you :), and during prayer, the Holy Spirit kept bringing me back to this... just wanted to share some of it with you today.

Back in December, an arsonist burned down the U.S Christian Commission's Civil War Chapel. The small wooden church sat only a block away from the downtown square of Gettysburg as a "symbolic reminder of the faith and courage of those who fought to preserve a nation" (prayer chapel website). The buildings surrounding the prayer chapel were damaged, too. Including a house, a coffee shop, and apartments for people unable to afford housing on their own. 
(google images)
On a prayer walk a few weeks ago, Gerry, Luke and I stopped in at the USCC Museum downtown and I got to meet founder John Wega for the first time. He graciously showed us the building and shared with us his plans for rebuilding the chapel and completing the museum. My heart has been hurting for John as he's come to mind lately. After only listening to him speak for a few minutes, it was very clear he's a man with great vision, passion for his cause, and perseverance in the face of some serious discouragement. The building that the museum will be in must date back to the Civil War. The brick is beautiful and the ceilings are intricate and so full of character. Both have been covered several times through the years, in efforts to keep heating costs low, I'd assume. Exposing both would also be pretty pricey... but the charm and historic character would be absolutely incredible. So today I'm praying for provision for those projects and praying for John, too. Check out the website and join with me in that... it is an incredible story.

There's something else about the fire that really stuck out to me today. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers who sold him into slavery years before, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." I think that same truth exists here in this situation. What satan intended for evil: the arson, displaced families, discouragement for the cause, God can use for good. He will make good out of it. The circumstances of the lost chapel and apartments seems pretty bleak. But God is not defeated. His heart is for the orphans and widows, those who have experienced great loss, and those whose situations seem hopeless. A better location is on the horizon for the chapel and more apartments for families are on the way... He is so good!


I'm full of hope right now sharing with you a piece of the US Christian Commission's story. God has good things in store and blesses faithfulness. I'm believing the new Chapel will be a symbol of God's everlasting faithfulness: from the beginning, to the civil war, to today and forever. 


Maybe there's something in your life that's feeling a little hopeless. Maybe there's something in you that it seems satan is constantly beating you up with. You can take back what he's stolen from you. Whatever it is. God's heart is for restoration and He desires to restore you. His heart is for you. Arson, discouragement, seemingly impossible circumstances... none of them can stop God.
(Life Form.) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Little Update.

Well, April is flying by.Yesterday the weather reached 82 degrees in Gettysburg. It was a beautiful day. I walked out of the church completely unaware that I was about to walk into summer. Within a few minutes, my homework supplies for the day were moved out of an office and into the gazebo out front. 

It's hard to believe that summer is so soon. Gettysburg Master's Commission has only about 3 and a half weeks left before we travel to Armenia. There will be worship festivals, leadership trainings, and relationship building... lots of Jesus-sharing :) It will be a good time. The way the trip has come together was unexpected and even uncomfortable some days... but that's another post-- a good 'hope-filled' one, too! God has good things planned and I am so thankful to be part of it. When May 22nd rolls around, we'll wrap up our first year together and graduate from GMC.

Summer plans are being made and, right now, really in need of some open doors and God's provision. 
I'll share those plans a little later once the details come together. :)

Kimmy, Kriston, Caitlyn, and I had a beautiful prayer time this morning. Our time was spent praying for the program, for one another, and for the next month and a half. There was a really incredible sense of support among the four of us as we stood in the middle of the sanctuary. We prayed in agreement with God's perfect plans and thanked him for all He has done in this year-- basking in the truth that it is His and the enemy can't steal that from us. There seemed to be a theme of God equipping and empowering each of us today for the next season. I love when He does that. 

It really is an honor to be able to pray over each one of those girls (and an incredible blessing to be prayed for by them). God is really good at bringing teams together. So excited about where God is sending us all after this year-- maybe different directions, definitely on an adventure with Him. Our last 20 minutes were spent spread out across the sanctuary, simply enjoying God's presence and the truth that He enjoys us, too. 

Classes end even before April does. That's hard to believe, too. Planning is happening for Gettysburg Master's Commission's 2011-2012 year.  I am getting really excited thinking about the students who will come to know Jesus more deeply, be transformed, and released for abundant life and ministry in the year ahead. 

I'm especially thankful for the abundant encouragement God is pouring over me this week. Feeling incredibly renewed and ready to boldly move forward. Thank you, Lord. 

(Note: This 'little update' is really not that little... but it could have been much, much longer)

(Life Form.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Need You.

I'm around 15 years old and sitting in the sanctuary of the church I grew up in.
The room is large and open, but I'm closed in and focused-- soaking in the presence of God. My parents are serving at the altar and my siblings are spread throughout the building... but I have a few minutes to just sit and sing. I'm sitting on the purple pew and my posture signifies this is a place of rest. It's a place where I can simply melt from God's love. The week might have been good, or maybe not, but that doesn't really matter right now. I'm full of trust. My eyes are closed and I am set on being with Him. For however many minutes I have in that place of peace... I stay there acknowledging that I am in desperate need of the Lord. This, or something just as sweet, is the song I'm singing:


This song started playing in my quiet time one night last week. A lot of life has felt really complicated lately. I've felt sort of ... messed up and polluted (harsh words, I know). Just kind of broken without knowing where to begin to just get back to being 'Bonnie'. This image came to mind. The one I just described. The image, or memory, of myself was filled with simplicity and innocence... and for only a second I felt like that was just long gone. 

But then God whispered this to me. He said that my very favorite, sweetest moments (just like that one) with Him are available now. So is innocence and purity. I don't belong to Jesus to be stuck in a cycle of looking at how dirty I think I am, nagged by every stubborn stain that I just can't get to go away. He washes me clean.

"I need you more, more than yesterday. 
I need you more, more than words can say. 
I need you more than ever before. I need you, Lord. I need you, Lord.

More than the air I breathe
More than the song I sing
More than the next heartbeat 
More than anything

Lord, as time goes by I'll be by your side. 
Cause I never want to go back to my old life."

Jesus, I'm sorry for my self-dependency. I need you. All my needs are met in you. 

You didn't intend for me to walk around burdened and staring at my stains. But when I'm depending on myself that's all I can do. But you climb under the yoke with me and carry the weight for me. And you've purified me with your own blood. Because I'm in You, there's no stain in me. 

(Life Formations)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dreams.

I just finished a class at the church on Sunday nights about Spiritual gifts. A few weeks ago we had a homework question that said, "If you could do anything and not fail at it, what would it be?"

A couple things came to mind within the first few minutes of reading but I actually started to get a little freaked out within the next couple days when my mind wandered back to the question. Soon I started to think, "Do I really dream anymore?".

I've felt too caught up in the details of life lately. Little things that come to mind plant a seed of stress or worry and they find their way down a terrible spiral path we'll call 'frustration and fear'.

When I was thinking about this post today I started feeling so much peace and a really sweet release as I realized that there's a bigger picture than what I've worried about today.

A week or two after reading that homework question, I finally answered a couple days ago.
If I could do anything and not fail at it I would be a wife and mom (a home-maker, too), a counselor to teen girls and young women in crisis (specifically in a home environment). I would travel (and love every minute of it) but live in Gettysburg (because I love that place even more). I would be involved in discipleship and outreach. I would be a family focused person. I would have a huge and very soft heart for the church, the lost, friends, prayer, and ministering by the work of the Holy Spirit.

I can't describe the amount of peace I'm experiencing writing this down and making little modifications today. Before starting this post I was feeling a lot of stress and even some hopelessness being so caught up in detail after detail, thought of inadequacy after thought of inadequacy. But God will equip me and I can trust Him.

Not because I'm just waiting till [fill in some far off date] to start enjoying life... but because I can enjoy life now, love the Lord now, love people more sacrificially and more deeply now. I can embrace opportunity to learn and develop the gifts and even character qualities I really, really need to live in all that beauty up there to the best of my potential.

Whew. It is good to dream. :)

(Life Formations)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Comforter & Sustainer.

Two words that describe the Lord.
During this fasting time for Harvest Cry I've realized they're two words I often place as the identity of the food I consume each day.

Food is great and I am so glad (as I think about things like mexican food and thai food) that God created us to need food to survive... His design is so good... but there needs to be a shift in the way I think, or a refocusing of some sort, when food is more than just food to me. 

Especially when it becomes what I rely on, what I trust to be comforted, what I trust to be sustained.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 4, Jesus was in "a place of extreme hunger" after fasting for forty days and forty nights. The devil took advantage of that hunger as he tested Jesus. In the first test, as the Message Bible puts it, the devil said, "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread."

Verse four states: Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: 
"It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth."

or as we've more often heard it:
‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

There's a bigger lesson in this than food. 
This is my prayer tonight:

That as long as I live I would never rely..
... on money, more than on God, for my family.
... on myself, more than on God's equipping, for ministry.
... on what I can see, rather than on faith, for following God in obedience.
... on what I can do, rather than on God's pure and faithful love, for the way I know He thinks about me.

Life holds so many opportunities for us to choose new things to be satisfied by or new things to rely on. Sometimes that's our own understanding... or maybe it's a place of financial security or social status. But the Word of God is what breathes life into us. Real, lasting, joy-filled life. Life that is not conquered by hunger or fear or lies of the enemy. 

This is the life that belongs to us. Praise the Lord. 

Man should not live on bread alone... but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

(Life Formations)


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Strong and Happy.

This was a really special weekend.
My Dad and I agreed this morning, Friday afternoon was a time we'll never forget.
As he put it,  "Having you all there, laughing, puzzles, talking about Utley (what else)...etc. Made me strong and happy." I feel the same way. Perfect afternoon.


The sweetest memories are made with family. Nothing better than being with them.
As a "mini-spring-break", I went home to Camp Hill early Friday morning and returned this evening to Gettysburg. Walking up the drive way yesterday morning I simply said "Camp Hill" breathed in and smiled. God gives me a beautiful sense of my "roots" every time I go home.

Coming through the front door, I was greeted by some of my favorite faces, big hugs, and the morning busy-ness that made me glad I was no longer the one making everyone late for school.

(Not the expressions we would have had those late-mornings)
I love the home I was raised in. There's a real warmth and welcome as soon as you walk in the front door. It meant the world to me getting to share that this weekend.

Friday afternoon was especially precious in the course of the past few days, for reasons I'll write about soon enough. Now I'm just kind of basking in the goodness of those reasons. :)

This weekend there was so much reflection on God's timing, the beauty of family, and His faithful provision... man oh man, God is good to us.

Got a little teary eyed tonight driving home from church and ice cream with friends thinking about how special people are.
Love you, family. Thanks for always sending me back to Gettysburg refreshed and full of love.

Excited about the new season God is bringing all of us into and so grateful that I'm a 'Chase'.

(Life Formations)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Year. (Life Form.)

Over Christmas break, while home with my family, I started praying about what 'my 2011' would be called*. A few days before the new year came, the Lord gave me the name "A year of vision and relationships". At first, to be honest, I was a little unsure if that was right. It seemed pretty general... like naming a year "A year of stuff and people".

I was wrong. Sometimes I'm a little too skeptical. :) But I believed with it and the next few days I was amazed by the way each prayer time ended up focusing on one of two things: My vision (for ministry or my future in general) and the relationships in my life (how I relate to the people around me). Without an effort on my part to focus on these things... the Holy Spirit just kept taking me back to them.

That pattern has continued. The Lord has been doing some truly wonderful things in both these areas since I returned to Gettysburg in the beginning of January.
I've become more aware than ever about the way I communicate. That's led to some incredibly positive change in me. New relationships have been building in my life that are really fantastic... the kind that challenge me, in the best way, to be more like Christ.. and more like 'the Bonnie' God made me to be. Gentle, honest, loving, a dream chaser, to name a few. It's been really good. So thankful for good friends and much to look forward to. :)

Gettysburg has become home for me. Even before moving here back in August, God was developing a heart for it's people in me. I'm honored to be a part of Gettysburg Master's Commission, I believe our name takes hold of the promise we have for impact in our town. God's bringing my focus back to drawing people to Christ, rather than doing good things or getting stuff done. From counseling to prayer ministry, to discipleship... the Lord gives me sweet little tastes of the truth that the way he's made me fits perfectly with the ministries He's called me to. Very grateful for his purposeful design and for incredible opportunity.

God is doing good things in Gettysburg, good things in me, good things with people. Love that I get to be a part of it and experience his heart in all these areas.

The past few days have felt pretty "battle-like". I think this is a good place for me to get back to tonight. Back to the foundation of what God is doing. You are really so good.. so kind.. so faithful, God. You bring me to a place of peace and rest. This kind of reflection reminds me how good it will be to spend the rest of my life with You... even in the battles.

*"Naming your year" is a kind of prophetic exercise... seeking God for a name that shows you what He wants to do in you and through you in the year ahead. Brad Leach wrote about it here

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Note


Today:

Refreshed vision. Renewed passion.
Answered prayers and God's faithfulness. Timidity destroyed. Self grown. God's heart experienced. Reflecting on His goodness. Resting in His peace now.

It's been a good day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waiting. (Life Form.)




















My summer was full of expectancy. I was so eager for Master's Commission to come. August seemed distant. But it was full of promise and change and I wanted that so badly. I couldn't do anything to make August come sooner. All I could do was wait.

"All I could do.." is a little misleading. Waiting is purposeful. It's not meant to be a "useless sitting time" or a time to grow lazy and apathetic. In the waiting time, God increases vision in me.

I'm amazed this morning by the way God's perfect timing and His understanding of my need for preparation work together. He's created a season where I'm becoming both intentional and passionate about growth. That's where I'm at right now. I'm in the waiting season. Just like last June, today I'm thinking about who I want to be when this season is done. I like thinking like this.

My expectation about the seasons ahead is building each day. But the beautiful thing is that my appreciation for this sweet season I'm in right now is also growing. I'm so sure of God's love for me. He wouldn't give me this season if he didn't care about what's coming after. But He knows what I'm capable of and he knows where I'm hungry to grow. And He knows I can do it. I think it's the sweetest thing that He cares about us this way. We're not left to our own devices, he comes to our aid and guides us. He's equipping me and strengthening me. And I get to know Him more in the process, too.

He's patient and nurturing... but He doesn't want me to waste time or settle for less than what "our time" is capable of producing. So this morning I'm motivated. I'm grateful. I'm expectant.

And I'm so thankful for his unconditional love and provision of this time. He'll be with me through all of it. I love that.

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us." --Henri Nouwen


God, I love seeing your heart.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Story About My Dad.

(Life Form.)
I just spent a couple minutes looking around my room for an old journal so I could accurately retell the story I'm about to tell. Unfortunately, the journal is back in Camp Hill. But I remember the story well enough that I probably don't need it anyway.

About a month before the start of my senior year, I sat at the kitchen table with my Mom, Dad, and younger brother, Aaron. I remember it was a long and warm kind of day, the room was dim, and I was a little grumpy. 

We had just finished dinner and we began to talk about the school year ahead. One of my parents brought up the topic of grades (a very normal subject when talking about school) and for some reason, I seriously have no idea why, I clicked into this terrible mood and gave my parents the worst attitude ever. I'm ashamed to think about the way I responded to them when they were simply encouraging me to work hard from the beginning of the year. So I yelled, which must have completely shocked them because it was totally out of place. They responded (not nearly as loudly or rudely as I had just spoken) and I stood up, grabbed the back of my chair and shoved it back under the table before storming off. I hadn't realized how close the chair was to my Dad's foot, though, so when I pushed in the chair, I actually slammed it against his foot. 

That broke my heart.
That story is literally painful for me to tell. That's an old and dying version of Bonnie I REALLY dislike. In any form.

I went up to my room and as always happens, within about a second, a mix of embarrassment and shame swept over me. I couldn't believe I had just responded the way I had. Seriously, dumb. So I just kind of moped around in my room for a few minutes.

Then my Dad came in. This is my favorite part of the story. 
I looked at him and just started to sob. I felt terrible. I had treated both him and my Mom like they were nothing. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the way I responded was completely out of place. It didn't make sense at all. But my Dad didn't make me feel ashamed or embarrassed... he didn't even ask me to apologize. He just came over to me and hugged me as I cried on his shoulder, telling him how sorry I was for hurting him. 

He told me he loved me and left no room for me to believe any lies. Because of his love I couldn't believe any longer that he'd love me less. I couldn't believe he wanted to be away from me. I could only believe things that were in line with the love my Dad was showing me. 

I can still feel the way I felt at that moment. 
My Dad's love, words, and embrace made me feel completely safe, totally forgiven, miraculously loved, and ultimately protected. My Dad was covering me and shame couldn't mess with me anymore. He's my protector and I am so sure of his love for me. 

Shame lost because of my Dad's love

This is the love of God for us, too. 

Thank you, Dad, for this testimony of your love for me. When I think of you I immediately think of your grace and kindness. I love you. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Surprise (Life Form.)

"Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect...



...For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets we made to match-- all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go further from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring."
-- C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

I've realized that sometimes I expect God to be very predictable. 
Not on purpose. In fact, I often pray for new things... for things that would surprise me and take me out of my comfort zone or any place I've been before in my walk with the Lord. 

But the other day I was thinking and I started comparing a situation in my life to a similar situation in a friend's. In the back of my mind, I was holding onto this idea that if what was going on in my life looked different than how He had worked in theirs... mine couldn't be legitimate.

I felt like what God's work in my life needed to follow some kind of pattern. The words He had spoken to me and the steps I was about to take needed to look more like what I had already seen work in somebody else's life. I thought like this for a little while...

Then I heard this little whisper, "You're not allowing any room for me to surprise you."
That's where I said, "Oh."

I'm really glad that God doesn't limit himself by making my life look just like someone else's. 
I feel like God's heart is all over doing things that are new.. and fresh.. things that catch us off guard.

Sometimes a person will say something so kind or so insightful that it just stops you.  The busyness of life kind of fades away as you look at them and think about the depth of what was just spoken to you. It's so special and you treasure their words because they were meant just for you. I think God does the same thing. The way he's bringing together the plans he has for you and for me and the calling on my life.. and on your life... it's all so personal. So specialized and designed to capture our hearts in the way God knows they will be best captured. To remind us He knows us and He's our very best friend. It's very sweet of Him. 

So God, come in and dust old expectations and ideas of "how it should be" off of me. 

Thank you for surprising me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Delight (Life Form.)

I was getting ready for church this evening, thinking about some good things, and feeling maybe just a little bit frustrated about the uncertainty I've been struggling with. 

My golden retriever does this thing every time he gets a new toy. He looks at you and at the toy as if he's not completely sure that you're really giving it to him. When it sets in that, yes, it's his, he takes it in his mouth, turns around and flees the room. Every time Utley* does this, he goes to the rug in the entry way of our house. If you follow him and offer to play, he'll cover the toy with his paws and cute little head. Now that the gift is his, he's keeping it. But he's keeping it away from us. He's not sure if the giver of the gift will take it away and I think that might worry him a little... as much as a golden retriever can be worried.



So I felt a little like Utley today. 

Sometimes really good things happen. One moment we might rejoice with God about it... but soon doubt and fear come. Disbelief comes that something so good and so pure and so beautiful could be ours. So we cling tightly to it. I mean, really tightly... white-knuckle-tight. 

We get in our minds this idea that this thing is too good to be true. Sometimes I start to think God will take it from me. I worry about praying about it because I worry He'll tell me I was wrong... that it's just not time for this or I've just got to get rid of that. I don't mean for this to sound mocking. Because yes, there are definitely times when God rightly and graciously tells us that it's not time for that yet or that this thing we're allowing in our lives is destroying us and we NEED to get rid of it

God is good like that. He loves us a lot.

But what about the times when he's already confirmed something to me? What about the times when I see his sweet Fatherly hands all over this gift and there is a timing on my situation that seems to have flowed right from his heart? Those times are good.

Sometimes that is where fear gets the best of me. That "too good to be true" mentality invades and I "hide it from God" with my head and my hands, just like Utley. 

But tonight God said something really sweet.
He said He wants to delight with me in this gift. 

If I keep hiding the gift from him out of fear that he'll take it away (which assumes God, my best friend, heavenly Father, savior-provider, is some kind of threat to my well-being)... I'll never get to just enjoy it with Him. I'm not sure there is anyone to enjoy a gift with more than the one who thought to give it to you. It is so good to enjoy life with God. 

So tonight a weight was lifted. Fear died and uncertainty turned into faith. I sang and worshipped and cried (a little) amazed that what I tried to keep from God, He just wanted to delight in this with me.  

So whether an opportunity, a spiritual gift, some kind of blessing or a relationship-- don't keep it from God. You'll enjoy it much more if you don't run away to the rug in the entry way and hide it. He delights in being with you. 

The white-knuckle grip gets really old. But life lived with open hands allows God to give and take as he sees fit. I like that God has taken things out of my life. (Even when it was hard at the time) And I love that he's given me the things he has. He's good. All the time. 


* Utley is named as he is for this reason: My last name is Chase. Utley Chase reversed is Chase Utley. Chase Utley plays for the Philadelphia Phillies (or did.. who knows) and Dad, from Philly, is a Phillie's fan (phan). Now I feel like I should say something great about cheesesteaks. This is not the time. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mom

After reading a post (that I loved) by my sister Kara about our parents, I looked at this picture sitting on my window sill and had to share it.

This is one of my very favorite pictures.
I could be wrong, but I think this is my Mom holding me after I went through surgery on my eye. The reason I say "I could be wrong" is because I can't imagine why my parents would hold me up in direct sunlight after getting eye surgery. But that's where I've always thought this picture was from... and it's too late to call my Mom and check.

Either way. I love this picture.
I love my Mom.

My Mom is an excellent mom. I think this year she has received more phone calls from me than she ever wished to receive in her life. But she would also tell me not to say that, because no matter how many times I call, how many questions I ask, no matter how many tears I cry or thoughts I run by her-- at the end, she always tells me how good it was to talk.

She's always spoken truth into my life, encouraged me in prayer, ministry, and friendships.
She has this incredible ability, definitely aided by the work of the Holy Spirit, in our conversations to help me figure out what on earth is going through my mind and what it is exactly that I need to hear.

Thanks for being who you are, Mom. Incredibly gifted, loving, selfless, and strong, with a heart powerfully pursuing the Lord. Thanks for all the hallmark movies you've watched with me, for sitting at the kitchen table crying tears of joy with me the day after God called me to ministry, and for modeling before me the kind of wife and mom I want to be some day.

I could go on and on.
I love you, Mom.

(Life Form.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day 2.0


Today is my second snow day of the week. I really do like snow days... I just like non-snow-days better. I like the structure of non-snow-days (what I suppose you could call 'regular days'). But this morning as I was getting breakfast I was thinking "Maybe snow days are good. Maybe I need these so I have a day every once in a while for a little self-evaluation." I think that's important. To have a day where you see where your work ethic is, how you spend your time, what you rely on... when it's not really being decided for you. It does a heart good to be sure you're genuine and trusting in unshakable things.

So snow days are good.

I think this is our 3rd this year... I've always had a hard time remembering snow days. The picture above is my breakfast on the window seat I'm eating on. There's something really great about sitting on a window seat when it's snowy outside and you're eating pancakes.

Yesterday I read an example of a man's personal creed. It was beautifully written and I felt like I knew him by the end of it. My favorite was this: "To defend those who are not present." I love the high priority the man put on that commitment.

He also wrote, "Listen twice as much as I speak". That's good.

And on a side note, look at that picture up there. See the dark orange-red fruit? Do you know what that is? Because I just realized I don't.  Just let me know. :)

Enjoy your snow day, or "non-snow-day", today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trust (Life Form.)


"Do not lock yourself in a box-- always afraid to fail and afraid to make a mistake."

We watched this video the end of our class last week. You want to know what my biggest area of fear used to be? (used to-- Praise God!) I used to be so afraid of disobeying God, accidentally. Not because I was afraid God wouldn't love me anymore, not even because I was afraid He would be upset with me... just because I REALLY wanted to make decisions that honored God.

God has given me a very sensitive heart. Very sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. But a tender heart can turn into an over analytical heart. It is easy for me to allow a little feeling of doubt to make me think, "Oh, wait, maybe I was wrong-- what if God actually meant this rather than that... maybe I made it all up."
Ah. But God is telling me to put the sword down. To stop internally warring when I can just trust instead. I love that I am sensitive to the Lord and to people. I am so grateful God has developed that in me. But God has also developed a rooted and reassuring peace in me. He's given me a sound mind.

On Saturday, in a really beautiful prayer time, I believe God spoke something to me that would seem really strange to anyone I shared it with. (That's why I've only talked to my Mom about it, she has to love me unconditionally, ;) ) . All I asked though, is that as confirmation, God would give me a really deep and lasting peace about this situation. And He did.

And in prayer times since, I've experienced the same thing: peace about a decision that kind of blows my mind.
So this is challenging me in a number of areas, this thought that fear locks me in a box. I don't want to be a Christian who hangs onto the balance beam my entire life and then gets off, goes into eternity and can only show how safe I was. I LOVE adventure. I love trying new things and living an abundant life-- so fun and so full because you're living it with God.

So instead of trusting a heart that will sometimes be scared, sometimes worried, sometimes passionate-- I'll trust the Word of God spoken to me. I'll stand up on the balance beam and walk in confidence and obedience-- knowing that in His sovereignty and mercy, God can and will turn me around if I start to head the wrong way without realizing it.

Today, I'll walk in faith and trust instead of fear and doubt.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Snow


Thankful that Jesus not only came, but that He's never left me.
Thankful for the still, sweet, sometimes small voice of the Lord.
Thankful for His love and gentleness... thankful He's creating the same in me.
I love you, Lord.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cell Phone (Life Form.)

This semester I'm taking a college course called 'Life Formation" with Elevate Leadership School. Rather than journaling, blogging is a class requirement. The plan now is to add "-life formation" to the title of posts written specifically for this course. I'm thankful for a little push to be more consistent in blogging-- here it goes!

Last Wednesday in class, Al (our course professor) said something like, "How awesome is it when someone is talking to you and they turn off their cell phone? There's something spiritual about that."

I realize that statement may seem a little ordinary to you at first... but for some reason it clicked with me right away. Forgive me for lack of a better word, but that gesture is just so special. I think that is because it makes the person, for whom the phone was shut off, realize that they are important and valued... that their words and insights are so meaningful to the other  that they were willing to shut everything else off... just to listen. 


This happened to me just the other day. It said so much to me about how much this person values other people. Constant rushing and thinking about all we need to accomplish causes us to forget how valuable people are, as well as the importance of real connection and listening (not just hearing). 


Sometimes, I really like to multi-task (for example, the other day I tried to do a crossword while driving... it was the last time, I promise). Maybe multi-tasking isn't really it... maybe I just like to stay busy. Whatever it is, it has too often robbed from me some of the sweetest opportunities to get to know people. I don't do this intentionally, but I have noticed recently that I too often pick up my phone or check my email when instead I could be giving all of my focus and all my attention to the person right in front of me. Friends, thank you for being patient with me. I'm learning. :)

So, thank you to each of you who have ignored a text, turned off your phone, or taken the time to sit down so we could talk. Thank you for simply listening. I like getting to know you.