Straight from my heart-
I want to share with you my heart behind this study. God has mysterious ways of working and moving that are totally unexplainable, but when we look back, we can often see how things in our lives have been knit together for a greater purpose. For as long as I can remember, I have had a heart for those that are broken and hurting. Perhaps it has been because of my own brokenness. I can see now that there have been deep hurts and struggles in my life, places of despair in my own heart, that God has used to drive me to a deeper place of intimacy with Him. There have been deep prayers that I have prayed for God to change circumstances in my life that have seemed to go unanswered. I have realized that those “unanswered prayers” in my heart have been the very things God has used to draw me to a deeper place of intimacy with Him. He has used my deep pain and despair to draw me to Him. He didn’t change my circumstances; He changed me. He has allowed dreams in my life to shatter so that I might experience more of Him; that He might meet me in those deep places in my heart.
I never set out to write a bible study. In fact, it never crossed my mind. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I journal. I journal my prayers, the cries of my heart, and the places that God takes me in His Word. I can trace back and see His hand and how He has spoken to me over the years. This particular journey began with a simple word study on prayer. I was not even studying the book of Nehemiah. I was studying prayer throughout scripture. I got to a verse in Nehemiah, when God prompted me to read the entire chapter. As I did, He began to open my eyes to hidden treasures in His word. I began to see His story of restoration and rebuilding for His broken people and for His broken city. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins and God’s people were living in exile. Nehemiah had a heart to see God’s city rebuilt and God’s people restored that the Name of the LORD might once again be great among the nations!
My heart’s deepest desire is to see lives transformed as they experience the redeeming love of Christ and the restoration He longs to bring. God’s desire is to take the ashes of our lives and bring something beautiful from them, all for His Glory! Our lives become a testimony that others might see and put their faith in Christ. God desires authentic faith, not perfect people. He made us to need one another, to help and encourage one another and to fight for one another. I pray you will join me on this journey through the book of Nehemiah as we examine the difficult, weak and often broken places in our hearts where God wants us to experience Him. We will walk with the Israelites from ruins to restoration and personal revival!
…Thank you to my dear friends and family who have encouraged me in this journey, through the original as well as the revision. I could not have done this without you. You sharpen me. Your countless hours spent going through the study, designing graphics and asking the hard questions have challenged me deeply and the study is stronger for it! I received my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy during this process and am now practicing as a licensed therapist. I hope the revision brings new insights I have learned along my journey. I am humbled by this process and count myself blessed to serve my Savior through this study. My greatest prayer is for hearts to be touched by the tender hand of Christ and be forever changed.