New Website & New Blog!

Hi All!

I recently launched a new website and blog home with my new married last name! I would love for you to stop over there, take a look around and subscribe to the new email list! Today, enjoy a new blog over there; an excerpt from a book I am currently working on.

Visit Now-> http://lauradudek.com/shrapnel/

 

Thank you everyone, I’ll see you over at lauradudek.com!

In Christ,

Laura

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stepping out of shame.

stepping out of shame.

Hi loves, Gosh I missed you all.  I missed writing; the pouring out of my heart out on a screen, telling you what the Lord teaches me in the depths of my soul.  It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted on my … Continue reading

adventure.

Hello all, It has been so long since I have talked to you! I literally have not blogged since last December, which is crazy!!  So much has happened since last year, and I wanted to stop in and share the beautiful adventure … Continue reading

this embrace.

I struggle to find the words that perfectly articulate what my heart wants to tell you all.  I feel this burden to write today, I sense this overwhelming movement in my heart to speak to you, just to paint a picture of what the Lord has been doing in my life. And yet, I am at a loss for words. Tears fill my eyes, my heart aches to show you all and yet the words don’t come. Words seem to lack the beauty of what my redeemer has done in my heart.

What comes to mind is a simple question: Have you ever felt a passion rise within you that you cannot contain?

I never had.

Not before this.

Before this I lived as a shell of a woman. Insecure. Broken. Selfishly looking at what I offered the world, always seeing myself as nothing in the light of those standing around me. I saw my Savior; glorious, perfect, holy, almighty in strength and power. And then I saw me: a mess, a heart marked by gaping holes, desperately longing to be the perfect woman who followed the perfect Savior.  And yet, everyday that perfect woman failed at being perfect.

I wrote to you all telling you of the grace that was literally transforming my heart.  I read those words over again, seeing the incredible story of a woman being remade, reshaped by the brushstrokes of grace.  I love that picture, it brings tears to my eyes thinking about my mess of a heart, knowing that in the construction zone of my soul Jesus saw every square inch, and embraced it all.  He’s not afraid of messes. He’s not scared to touch the dirty or embrace the broken.  In fact, he seeks it out.  He searches for hearts that long for wholeness. He aches to meet with those who long with all of themselves to find his grace.

As I write now, I can tell you that this woman’s heart is new. Fresh. Remade. Beautifully crafted by the hands of love. I will always be in the process of transformation, of being made more and more like the one who rescued me.  But  magnificent progress has been made.  I stand as a woman who is becoming whole. I stand secure, with confidence in who the Lord has made me to be. The brokenness has been tended to, the pieces that were once scattered are now in their places that create a woven tapestry that create a magnificent display of God’s relentless love for me.  My Jesus has graciously lifted my head, simultaneously taking my eyes off of myself and fixing my gaze on the world around me.  As the holes in my heart were filled with the grace of Jesus Christ, as he embraced his daughter with arms not of expectation, but complete acceptance, I felt for the first time the peace of my Redeemer.  There was no longing to be perfect.  No guilt of failing. No fear of falling. It was a deep, slow breath; a peace filled calm found in the embrace of my perfect Savior. His perfection is where I find myself. His perfect love. His perfect grace. And I, the unperfect woman, fit perfectly in his loving arms.  And there, I find wholeness.

I reflect on the promise found in God’s Word to us; “perfect love casts out all fear.”  What a beautiful thing.  What a glorious picture.  As I find myself more wrapped in the perfect embrace of my Savior, I sense his unconditional grace, his unfailing love for me. I breathe it in, let it consume me like an intoxicating perfume, letting myself finally rest in the hands that hold the world. And in that moment of letting go, in that intoxication, as I breathe in the fragrance of love, I sigh out all my fears, insecurities melt away, brokenness finds its healer and messes find their redeemer.

This is what changed me. This.

This grace filled embrace.  Where fear is cast out. Insecurity melts away.  Messes finally find rest and peace.

And in that embrace I found my passion. I found a wholeness that is uncontainable.  A mission within my heart that is not founded on trying to affirm my identity or fill my need for acceptance.  It is founded on a love that has wrapped me up and set me free.

So I ask you; Have you ever felt a passion rise within you that you cannot contain?

I watch people around me living day in and day out.  Their mouths speak of grace. They tell of God’s love.  Their motions simulate transformation. But their eyes speak a different story.  Their eyes confess a story of exhaustion; aiming for perfection, consumed by fear, and lost in the brokenness of their hearts.  In that gaze I see a heart that longs to be at peace, a spirit that aches to be set free and a passion that is eagerly yearning to be lifted from the weight of fear and insecurity.  I know that feeling, that disjointed connection between words and belief.  I have felt the sting of speaking truth but not being able to rest my tired heart in it’s comfort.

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That is where tears fill my eyes and my heart aches to tell you of the glorious embrace of Jesus.  When we surrenderourselves and let our hearts, our minds, our souls fall into the almighty arms of our rescuer, that is where true transformation happens.  That’s where our stories have life breathed into them.  That’s the moment when the fragrance of grace fills our lungs and our hearts beat with a fearless thump.  And in this rest, we find freedom. And that freedom breathes air into the embers of our hearts, and it sparks an uncontainable passion.  Instead of speaking empty words that are disconnected from the mess of our hearts, we are at a loss to find any words that describe what happened inside of us.  We are only left with a relentless fire within our souls that is untamable. uncontainable. unimaginable.  A fire that we can’t describe in words, but we fight relentlessly to pursue.

Perhaps this is what my heart longs to tell you; fall into the embrace of Jesus.  Let his love sooth your heart.  Let him whisper into your deepest secrets.  Let him pour rest over your tired heart. Let him set your broken heart free.  And let him energize you with passion to go love a world that needs the warmth of his embrace too.

 

beautiful mess.

Hi all.madewithover

I wanted to pop in today just to share something that has been burning in my heart. I can’t promise {in fact I won’t even try to promise} to start blogging more. {I won’t bore you with all the crazy stuff happening in my life right now…but it is so exciting.}

With that in mind, can I just share what Jesus has been teaching me?

Grace. All Grace. Only Grace.

Not fluffy grace.  Not grace that I’m simply thankful for on thanksgiving.  Not grace that makes me feel good and light and like I’m walking on rainbows.

But grace that moves.  Grace that transforms.  Grace that comes in to your very core and begins to renovate your entire being.

And this moving, transforming, renovating grace hurts.  It’s painful. It’s messy.  It’s tearing down my insides; ripping out the lies that Satan has planted in me, uprooting the wrong beliefs that I have clung to for years and dissecting the core of my heart, exposing the ugliest parts of me to the light of life.

I often feel like a mess.  Like I’m walking around in a full body cast, feeling like a breathing construction site with nothing but disarray and wreckage going on inside of me.  But I know that I am a beautiful mess.  I’m a grace inspired mess. And I love it. 

Because there was a time when I believed that the lies inside of me were true.  I accepted that my wrong beliefs were reality.  I passively walked day in and day out, letting lies consume me and letting my broken perspective control how I lived and ultimately how I loved.  I lived for years walking with Jesus, but keeping him at arms length; not letting his grace touch the most vulnerable and fearful places of my heart.  I wandered in blindness, knowing that Christ lived in me, but not letting his power open my eyes to his power and wholeness.

And there came a call to action.  Last year was mine. It was a defining moment when Jesus demanded more of me. It was a moment when I realized that I had never given him all of my heart; all of my obedience; all of my surrender.  Everyday now I experience that same call to action.  I hear the voice of Jesus, asking me to surrender more tiny little pieces of my heart.  To grant him permission to tear apart my insides and then give him the shattered bits.  And Jesus takes those shattered pieces and gently, creatively, uniquely creates this breathtaking mosaic of pure beauty.  

You see grace, as I’m experiencing, isn’t easy and weak.  Grace is the mighty power of God that captures our very being and swoops down as a mighty breath of renewal and wholeness.  Grace breathes life into us; offering us healing and transformation.   Grace is the story of allowing Jesus into our hearts and letting him  renovate the inner parts of us.  

Wholeness is built in in the construction zone of my heart.  As I allow Jesus deeper and deeper into my most vulnerable places, he will gently rip away the things that are not love, are not him, are not truth. And grace rushes into those newly emptied vessels; filling me with new life, new love, a new place that is now consumed by Jesus.

Grace is replacing my mess with Jesus’ love.  Grace is the painful process of ridding my heart of its muck; and filling in those spaces with pure. powerful. and passionate Jesus love. 

So what is Jesus teaching me? That his grace lets me be a beautiful mess. That it’s totally acceptable to be under construction; to be broken; to be in shattered bits. Because in the end he will take those broken pieces and create a remarkable picture of his glory, goodness and grace.  

scars of grace; coming to christ.

 One of the things that the Lord has really spoken to my heart about lately is the power of a grace story.  There is something that moves us when we hear each other’s stories of victory.  Deep emotion is stirred in us, our spirits are inspired, our hearts are ignited with new passion, and our minds are renewed once more in the truth that Jesus saves and Jesus restores.   Our stories are of our wounds, our brokenness, our emptiness; and then the phenomenal entrance of a man named Jesus.  He covered our hearts with grace; mending every broken piece, filling every empty whole, and turning our wounds into scars. It is when the healing has happened, when our hearts,minds and spirits are revived and restored that Jesus calls us to show off our battle scars; to share the truth of his limitless grace.   Our scars are the story of Jesus.  Our scars tell the story of who we were and who we are now.  Our scars tell the story of an incredible journey that we were once broken and bruised and now we are healed and victorious. 
 
 
Each Friday I will have the incredible honor to have women in my life share their grace story.  They will share their struggles, their battles, their wounds and brokenness; but above all, they will show how their wounds turned into their greatest witness and their scars into his story of incredible grace.  These are our scars of grace. 
 
 
This week is my first guest story teller! I met Lindsey through my church’s college ministry back in the fall.  I have had the pleasure of being in a small group with her, and have heard her absolute raw passion for Jesus.  She is truly learning what it is to be a woman after God’s own heart and is an example of a woman who longs to serve Jesus well.  She is bubbly and amazing, a total country girl who just loves people.  Here’s Lindsay’s story of grace.
The last time I remember being the happiest in my life is when I was about five years old. I can remember playing with a big bouncy ball in the drive way with my mom. Laughing, yelling and chasing after the giant blue ball was exciting, wondrous, and completely innocent. Two years later I learned that my mother was gay by catching her making out with a woman she referred to as her “friend”. We spent every weekend that summer visiting her “friend”, Wendy. I loathed her. She was the woman I blamed for ruining my life. My mother’s time was not only now split between me and someone else, but now I was fighting for love against another woman, or so that’s how I saw it then.
For years I watched my mother. I followed her wherever she went, upstairs, downstairs, as long as that woman was around, I would make sure nothing happened. I didn’t know what sex really was, but I knew enough to know I didn’t want my mom having it with her. When my mother would drop me off at grandmas for a weekend vacation, I would make her promise she wouldn’t have sex. Never the less I would catch her kissing her girlfriends through the years, knowing full well she wasn’t keeping her promises. At one point I would pray to God that he would kill me, because I couldn’t kill myself. I became consumed by sex. I promised myself at the age of nine that I would NEVER have sex, even when I’m married. The only exception to having sex would be to have babies, because I loved children.
 
When I became a teenager of course, all of that changed. My consumption with sex became addiction. Along with that came neediness, longing for attention, andinsecurity. As long as someone told me I was sexy or hot or beautiful, I felt I was okay. As long as someone noticed me, as long as my pride was being fed, everything was alright. Surprisingly my sex addiction stemmed from my longing to be loved addiction.  I fooled around with a few guys, yet I still kept my promise to myself to be pure from sex. Then high school came, and when I found someone I latched on. I would give a man anything he wanted to stay around, to get him to love me. Nothing seemed to work. Most people would say I had it all, a family, tons of friends, terrific grades, and yet in my eyes I had depression.
 
 I pulled away from my mom, who I felt really didn’t care anyways, and started living with my friend. Her mom introduced us to drugs, we started smoking weed anytime we could get some. Her uncle would grow it, so we always got a stash for helping bag it and not telling anyone. Friday poker nights were innocent, until some of the guy started bringing alcohol. We felt popular, we felt needed, and we were wanted there. The guys stood up for us, protected us, and loved our skimpy clothes. I “fell in love” with one of them, but he didn’t want me. I spent two years being his best friend and trying to hook him up with people who were my friends that he wanted to date. The first time I really felt broken was when a guy I was talking to loved me, and left me. When I say left, I don’t mean we broke it off. I mean he changed his number, deleted his Myspace (which was popular at the time), and never spoke to me again to this day. Oh and just to add insult to injury, the last time I heard from him was Christmas Eve.  (I hope you’re starting to understand the depths to my brokenness, but I digress).
Most kids learn to drive at 16, instead I got engaged. That seemed to work, for a while. He was my first partner, the love of my life. I was ecstatic! Someone loved me! Me! I was so blind to red flags; usually neediness blinds you like that. I told him that I was waiting until marriage, and he told me that the mindset I had wouldn’t be lasting long. Two weeks. That’s as long as I could hold out. It only took us two months to get caught, by his father. We then were put on parole. No alone time, dates had to be escorted by friends or parents, movies required saved ticket stubs to report back to the officers (his parents). After two months of torture, I broke of the engagement because he wouldn’t stand up to his mother. We then soon broke up, and his best friend was there to pick up the pieces. All he had to do was tell me he loved me.
 
 
The new relationship was controlled solely by sex. If I did wrong, that’s what made it better. If I felt ugly and unimportant, that’s what made me pretty. Soon enough I had idolized him. So when he left me, my world fell apart. After that I dated men to fill the void. I would end up sleeping with them on a second or third date, just to realize that it would never work between us. By the time I was 18 I had two STD’s. I found out a week before Christmas about the one that they told me would be with me forever. I hated myself. I looked around at my life and felt nakedworthlessunlovedunimportant, and a fake. Everyone saw me as the Virgin Mary, the “mom” of the group, the cute one, the sweetheart. I saw myself as the slut, the whore, the Jezebel, who was never going to be loved, and who deserved everything she got. I didn’t think my mother cared, my father wasn’t around and had his own issues, and my friends just never could really understand. 
 
The end… Just kidding, I couldn’t just leave you there wondering what happened. First things first, the above story is broken, and it describes a sad and lonely woman. There is no happiness, and of course in real life, I had happy moments, but it clearly wasn’t that memorable. Now I left some things out as well. When I was dating rebound guy, who was after engagement man, his family went to church. Him and I would have hotel parties and then be forced to go to church by his family the next morning. The only reason I went was because I wanted to spend more time with him (you have to remember I was a latched on kind of woman even if I didn’t think so at the time). Sunday after Sunday I heard sermons on God and Christ and all that jazz, and I found it hard to stay awake most of the time. When he and I broke up, I would go to church just to see him. About three months after I started sitting alone in the back of the church, I started crying, every Sunday.  I didn’t get why my heart and soul would hurt after hearing these sermons on Christ’s love, his want for us, and how he saved people who could never be saved.
January 25th 2011. That’s when I experienced happiness, that’s when I experienced love, that’s when my life changedI accepted that Christ died for my sins, that he gave his life up for me to have a relationship with God. He died so that I could learn what true love is, how to lose my pain, and leave my sin behind me. Since that day, my life has completely changed, and although it was hard, I wasn’t ever alone. I have been sex free for almost two years, I was able to quit drinking, quit smoking, and quit running after people’s attention. I have a friendship and a love with my mother, a woman I have never been able to communicate with. Christ gives me wholeness in my life that is incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced. Through him I have found friends that are honesttrue, and loyal. I’ve been blessed with a boyfriend who loves me, no matter where I have been or who I was. When I told him about my past, the first words out of his mouth were “you accepted Christ, and now in Him you are made new, and that’s how I see you.”
 
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). For those of you who aren’t followers of Christ, I plead with you to throw away your brokenness, your depression and find a new beginning in Christ. There are none to broken or alone for him. For those of you who do put your hope in Christ, I encourage you to remember what he has taken you so far from. I hope that every time you feel alone you can remember where you were before finding him, and what he has brought you through. Remember those little times you experienced God full force, whether he took some sin out of your life, or taught you how to love like he does, don’t forget Him. I hope my story could help you understand your own, just know that he created youHe knows your past, present and future, yet loves you just the same.
 
 
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” –1 John 1:9

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Lindsay lives for Jesus, but loves Harley Davidson’s, working on dairy farms, listening to country music, and loving people. She describes herself as an everyday witness to Gods greatness through the works he continues to do in her life.

You can read more of Lindsay’s story  over at her blog at  http://farmerlin.blogspot.com/.

when God says no.

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One of my promises {that I’ve made to myself over the past few years} is that I will always write from my own experiences, from the lessons that I have learned and the awesome things that Jesus is working on … Continue reading

wilderness moments.

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Can I be uber honest today?  {not that I’m ever not honest…but we’ll just say I’ll open up about an issue that many people just simply don’t talk about. and yes, I said uber, it’s definitely a word that I love … Continue reading