(MOM)entous Monday with Emily Van Andel

I know God called me to write this blog, share my story, and keep it real.

But here is the problem… I have only had so many experiences and can only reach so many people with them. However, I am surrounded by moms/women that have such beautiful stories.  

I want to use this space to bless more women with the bravely shared stories of others.

There is something so beautiful in knowing that you are not alone.

This is my friend Emily… I can truly say she is as beautiful inside as she is on the out, but she is not only beautiful… she is smart, strong, able, and has a heart for the Lord. I knew her story would resonate with many of you.
Thanks for sharing Emily!

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14.

I’m almost 40 and I’m spinning my wheels in the mud.

Am I not lovable?

Am I not deserving?

What do I need to work on in myself before I will be worthy?

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These are the questions I ask myself, all too often.

The struggle is real.

My ex-husband pinned me to the wall and punched holes next to my head, all I could think as I blacked out with his hands around my throat was, “Who will take care of my son?”

He lost his job, sunk us in debt, and refused to look for new work. He was addicted to internet gaming and pornography. He neglected our children (he has two older children) and the only way he would show me simple affection was in return for sexual acts.

Those are just highlights, you don’t want the details in your head. I left him in 2003 with a 5 month old.

When I turned 30 in 2005, I was excited for a new decade in my life and for what the future held.

And it’s been hard.

Divorce saved my life, but not without consequence.

I am a fortunate woman; I have a supportive family, great friends, an awesome church, and a 17 year career as a teacher. I have a beautiful home and a loving, tenderhearted, funny, amazing son. I receive no child support and we haven’t seen or heard from Mason’s father in almost nine years.

Our needs are met, we are blessed.

But it gets lonely.
I don’t have a partner to celebrate life with, to call when something goes right…or when something goes wrong. I don’t have someone I can support and love and give to, as I truly desire.

My son inspires me and gives me purpose, but he is not here to be my companion.

I honestly hate dating. It is such a roller-coaster…and not a fun one. The grass is not greener over here.

My first date, post divorce, took me to a ‘G’ rated movie because his parents didn’t believe in going to the movies and he was worried about what they would think. A few years later, I saw him on the news in orange coveralls in a courtroom. He ended up in prison for sending threatening emails to public officials.

Who I’ve dated and what went down just gets more interesting from there. I should’ve kept a journal over the last 12 years, for your entertainment.

I want to get it right.

I want to choose a man who sets a good example for my son.

I want someone willing and capable of loving and protecting us both. I seek to find a true man after God’s heart.

Not to sound cliché, but it seems all the good men are taken.

I’ve always tried to protect my son, and have had only one serious relationship where I believed we had a future, and I allowed my son to be involved. I let my walls down, fell hard, and was deeply hurt.

Heartbreak is real.

But God heals.

A wise woman recently embraced me and whispered in my ear, “God saved you.” I needed that reminder. So does everyone. God saved ME. And He saves you too.

People often try to encourage me with success stories. Unfortunately, it discourages me more than anything. “I was single for five long years, I finally met someone…there’s hope!” In my head I hear, “Only five years? Try twelve and counting with no prospects on the horizon.” I wish there was a magic formula, I would love the simplicity of x+y=z.

A few days ago, I was asking the Lord to encourage me. Where are the stories of women being single for 15-20 years and meeting someone? I never hear them.

But you know what? We just need to listen. He speaks to us, but we tune Him out with all of our nonsense. Later that same day, I was with a friend and we ran into a former colleague of hers. She excitedly announced that after 20 years of being single, she was reunited with someone from her past and they are now happily married.

God speaks.

I didn’t know her, but I told her that God used her to answer my prayer, and how encouraged I felt by her story. As I proceed through my singleness, my loneliness, I hear God’s voice, ”BE STILL. I’ve got this. Let Me handle it, Emily.”

I want to share my life with someone. To have a man to love and take care of. And to be loved and taken care of in return. I want my son to know what it’s like to have a man in the home.

But I know He is the Husband to the husbandless and the Father to the fatherless.

He meets our needs through wonderful family, friends, and others. We have a great support system. We’ve done well, in spite of many challenges and obstacles.

I strive to be a better mom and woman every day. And I choose to love the life that God has given me. Because it is good, His plan is perfect.

As I approach 40, I am more emotional than I expected I would be, 12 years later, my life is not what I pictured. The last decade did not deliver the life I thought it would. But my Heavenly Father is holding me. I am pushing forward to the future He has planned for me, every single day.

I find such encouragement in Him.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Thanks for joining me for (MOM)entous Monday. If you have a story you would like to share… Contact me! 

Let’s bless people with the story of our lives… it turns all that pain into purpose.

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10 thoughts on “(MOM)entous Monday with Emily Van Andel

  1. Emily, thank you for sharing your story and your faith. You are beautiful, you are strong and you have God who loves you so!

  2. I have only been divorced for a little over two years but appreciated your blog post so much! It was what I needed to hear/read today!

    “I honestly hate dating. It is such a roller-coaster…and not a fun one. The grass is not greener over here.”
    – Amen to that, couldn’t have said it better myself or agree with you more.

    “He is the Husband to the husbandless” literally brougt me to tears and was such a good reminder for me. After reading your post I am reminded that even when I am sad and lonely I am not alone, and that is the encouragement I needed today so I wanted thank you for that and sharing your story.

  3. Came across your story and it’s inspiring to hear how your faith has helped you through life’s challenges. It’s not always how we want it or when we want it, but God has a plan. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. Looks like you have strong, intelligent women in your family. Your mom has given you strength needed for your journey. Sincerely, Athena-EHT