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I love God and love people and am passionate about seeing others grow and blossom in life and faith. At the same time, I am well aware that life is often just hard, things happen that we hadn’t hoped for, we can run up against things in ourselves or others that make us feel stuck. And yet, God has promised abundant life for us, how do those go together? God never promised that life with Him would be easy, but He does promise to be with us through it all. He has also promised to give us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The Amplified Bible says it this way, “For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 


As a spiritual director, I see myself as a fellow sojourner, coming alongside those as they too, learn to partner, walk with and live with Christ. True and personal knowledge are the words from this verse that I believe can help us to become more deeply rooted in Him. I don’t have all the answers or keys, but I am confident in the One who does. I know that in His presence there is fullness of life. Meeting with directees is like getting to stand on holy ground.

Aleida Nieuwenhuis

During my early twenties my faith became more serious. On different occasions I experienced that God is a God who is a loving Father that deeply cares about us. It transformed my life completely and I longed for others to get to know this God. I worked as a missionary for a couple of years leading outreach teams all over the world. I experienced a deep satisfaction in making Gods love practical, at the same time I did not always see the “spiritual” results I anticipated. I increasingly started to feel disillusioned and tired of all the doing and it stirred up some deep questions. 


Finding out about spiritual formation and the contemplative tradition helped me to root deeper in God in this phase of life. God is greater than we can ever comprehend in this life. Yet He calls Himself Father and in Jesus He became human like us. In His kingdom it is not in the first place about loving others but about loving God. He deserves our all our entire being. In living in Him and His truths we find true freedom and belonging. Rooted and grounded in His love we will be able to stand throughout the different seasons of life.


As I look back, I see how blessed I’ve been by being part of the body of Christ. Doing life together with others; church, spiritual friends, mentors and spiritual directors have made me into the person I am now and I am passionate about coming alongside others in their process with God.


Next to my heart and passion in this area of coming alongside others, I have grown my skills via Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction (a ministry of the Vineyard movement). I hold bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Christian Ministries from Biola University (La Mirada, CA, USA) and a master’s degree in Child & Adolescent Psychology from the University of Leiden. 


I grew up in a Dutch family in southern California. I am thankful for those that invested in me at the church I grew up in (Emmanuel Reformed church) and for how they introduced me to a dynamic life with Jesus. I have always felt connected to my Dutch roots, which our regular family trips back to the motherland contributed to. I increasingly felt called to serve and invest in this small and rainy, yet green and beautiful country. I now live in Zwolle with my husband (who is indeed a Dutchy).


I have mentored high school and college-age girls for more than 10 years and am committed to growing my own roots through being actively involved at church, receiving monthly spiritual direction and participating in weekly accountability with a friend. I am also part of an established network of Spiritual Directors and receive regular supervision.


"It has been a joy to watch Monique grow and develop as a spiritual director. The ministry of spiritual direction fits her quite naturally as she is a compassionate listener, a loving presence and a great encourager. Monique is gifted in helping others to explore their inner world, and I heartily recommend her to you." 

-  Elizabeth de Smaele, teacher with Sustainable Faith


I grew up here in the Netherlands, in a strict reformed church. I became a believer in another reformed denomination (PKN) and have been involved in an international and interdenominational missions organisation. Currently I am a member of an Anglican church in Amsterdam. The experience of being part of many different streams and cultures within christianity has broadened my view and has helped me to be able to connect with christians from diverse backgrounds. There are aspects of Gods character in all of these streams and together we form the Bride, the church of Christ.


I am a registered nurse and specialized in oncology. I’ve done a number of courses in the areas of counseling, coaching, communication and ministry. I have been walking alongside young women for 10+ years and am involved in different organisations and projects such as TPZ and YWAM. I did my spiritual direction education through Sustainable Faith’s school of Spiritual Direction. I am part of a network of Dutch spiritual directors and also receive intervision. I meet monthly with a spiritual director, have weekly accountability meetings with a friend. 

"Aleida introduced me for the first time to spiritual direction. I was intrigued and eager to know more how we can approach God through different means and make it part of our (hectic) daily lives. Aleida is a gifted spiritual director. She speaks God's truth with confidence, and has a gentle spirit, while being warm and caring. I always felt refreshed, more hopeful and at peace after each session. And most important, I was encouraged and motivated to pursue God's presence at any time. 
-  Victoria, directee
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