Closing out another year begs reflection—I don’t know if that’s because we can say, “yay, we made it!” when we didn’t think we would or just the simple fact that as something ends, something else naturally begins.

In all respects, 2016 was a good year for me (which is probably my positivity in strength finders speaking) but it was not without its lows. I dealt with issues of identity, fear, loneliness, and worth—among others. I continue to wrestle some of these bears, along with putting out my hands to God of what the future holds both internally as well as externally.

But as I think about this last year I am amazed at all that happened and the strength that has come as a result of not letting past demons, current set backs, or other people overshadow my own voice and God’s leading. I’m grateful for the mulligan in life that I’ve been given even though it came through an immense amount of pain and difficulty.

So what do I want for the future—be that just tomorrow or a whole other year? I guess you could say these are my resolutions because I am resolved to making these things happen, but it’s more than that. It’s the anthem of my heart, the leading of my passions, and the desires God has given me that carry me forward day in and day out. So what are they?jlk_8978

It all goes back to my mission in life: to live authentically, love fearlessly, and to connect deeper to God and to people so we each embody who we were made to be.

Live Authentically

Like most people, I can often hide from my mistakes and the uglier parts of who I am because I want to be liked and to seem like I have all my stuff together when in reality I’m so far from perfect. In 2017, there’s more raw ugliness that I need to shed in order to let go of the past, being open to the present, in order to step into the future. So the New Year will indeed be another opportunity for a new me—one closer to who I was made to be, which excites me, scares me, and I pray, encourages others.

Love Fearlessly

My ministry is one of love. If you know me, the real me, you know that I am a lover of people. I like to see the souls of people and encourage the truth of who they are. Loving people is hard because you can’t put up walls or guards. You have to be open and vulnerable and that means you’re an easy target for wounding. And as ridiculous, dangerous, and awful as it may sound, that is where I want to live. On the front lines of loving people and relying on God to be my strength as I take the beatings both from my own battles, but also picking up others who have been hurt and reminding them that they are so loved. I guess in some respects—once a combat medic, always a combat medic!

Connect Deeper to God & to People

In case there was a doubt—I love Jesus and I’m committed to following after God. I am the first to admit that I don’t do that perfectly or in some cases well (especially while driving). But I do, I love God and 2016 has taught me that when I release control and reorient my perspective, what God brings is so much better both in life and in relationship. In his book, True Community, Jerry Bridges says, “the vertical aspect of fellowship (union and communion with God) provides both the foundation and the pattern for the horizontal aspect (fellowship among believers). A community relationship among believers presupposes a living relationship with God and is, in fact, dependent on it.” The bottom line is that while some days I’m not a good Christian, I pray to God that I can be a better human. Furthering my relationship with God is the life that I’m about.

I had a friend ask me today what my word of intention is for 2017. So I thought about how I would summarize my mission statement into one word for the year ahead. At first I thought it would be “war” because I’m fighting to keep progressing in these areas that are messy, raw, and personal. But as I continued to think on it, I don’t want to be a person at war. I don’t want my life to feel like a fight—been there, done that.

So my word of intention is actually the opposite of fight, it’s surrender. I want to surrender myself to the joys and sorrows that this next year will bring knowing that as I surrender myself to God in the areas of authentic living, fearless loving and deep connection, only blessing will follow.

I don’t know how your year has been or where this next year will take you. But I do know that you are loved more than you’ll ever know, worth more than you give yourself credit for, and stronger than your circumstances. Grace and peace to you my friend!

Until next time and next year…Live as a Masterpiece!


In 2017, I will be embarking on the journey of raising financial support as I finish up my internship. If you would like to partner with me in prayer and financial giving this next year in life and ministry, you can give online (it’s tax-deductible):

More info regarding my ministry to come!


  1. You are truly gifted! I know God has a lot in store for you. I hope you can impact other people’s lives the same way you have mine! God bless Mandy!


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