She is a beautiful woman, hiding the insecurities that dwell within her behind a gentle smile. She considers herself strong-willed, a lone achiever, able to do anything without anyone’s help. She has three daughters, been married three times, and the man she now lives with is not her husband. No, this is not the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. This is the story of Nydia Soto’s life.
It was May 2014, and the living room couch was Nydia’s spot for three weeks. Influenza B, a type of flu virus that can cause respiratory, fever and stomach symptoms, had commanded her health and the only place she could find any comfort was laying somewhat upright on the couch. Her body was weak and feeling sore. This was unusual for the mother and pseudo stepmother of a total of five kids. She never got sick. The struggle to find her health led Nydia to reevaluate her life. She had been out of work for years, recently had a falling out with her oldest daughter, and struggled to have healthy relationships her entire life. It all had been comfortable to her until this moment.
“I never truly committed to anything in my life,” Nydia admits. “Everyone thought I would always land on my feet. My life was always going, always an adventure and I didn’t need anybody. They thought I was great but I wasn’t. I felt alone and I didn’t trust anybody.”
Her lack of commitment and trust spilled into her belief of God. Nydia said she had always believed in God, but didn’t want to accept that “Jesus was it.” Her entire life, Nydia would watch as God worked and opened doors in her life every time she prayed to Him. Most recently, it happened in the midst of a very low point in her life. After the third divorce, when Nydia was facing unemployment, foreclosure and single parenting, God showed His grace by leading her to meet Christopher Kaye. She was certain he was a gift from God since their first meeting was on her birthday after all. He would eventually become her strongest supporter and encourager. Even so, she couldn’t get herself to commit to God.
As she lay on the couch, she thought about her life and where she was going. Was she missing the point? Nydia began to pray.
“I wanted my life to be different,” she said. “I wanted a purpose. I wanted my life to be relevant.”
God wasted no time answering her prayer.
Within the week, Nydia got a call from her oldest daughter, Darin, 17, after months of not speaking to each other. Darin was calling to invite her mother to church.
“I only went because she asked me to go, and to spend time together without it becoming volatile,” Nydia said. “But man, the Lord wanted me there. That was the beginning of my awakening.”
Nydia’s newfound infatuation with God was strong. She continued her weekly visits to Christ Fellowship on Sundays, began attending Reach Beyonds and Small Groups, and constantly reached out to campus pastor Omar Giritli and a co-worker at her new job with questions and phone calls. With every answer came more curiosity and an eagerness for more, leading her to begin reading the Bible regularly.
Then, on September 21, 2014, Nydia’s heart was stripped away of all its hardening, opened up, and was filled with the Lord.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion, sobbing from submission, release, and comfort,” Nydia said. “I suddenly understood why people used the expression ‘born again.’ It feels exactly like that. Like you can finally breathe, see, taste, feel, and walk intentionally. You can forget who you were, for you suddenly are who you were meant to be.”
Since opening her heart and listening to the Holy Spirit, Nydia had not been so joyful and peaceful in all her years. Obedience and gratitude to God was easy to show through her tithing and service. But when it came to relinquishing her relationship with Christopher to the Lord, Nydia’s faith would be tested.
The story of the Samaritan woman at the well fell on Nydia like a ton of bricks.
“Mom, why is Pastor Rick sub-tweeting you?” Darin said as she gently elbowed her mother on the side. Nydia felt as if God had a spotlight on her during the sermon that Sunday in January. Multiple husbands, five children to raise, the status of her current relationship — the biblical story was a mirror reflecting back her own life events and decisions. The Lord was speaking, and she couldn’t deny it.
Up until that point, Nydia and Christopher didn’t feel the need to get married. They had been dating for five years, and engaged for three. After their engagement, it was an unspoken decision to never complicate the relationship with “marriage.” Nydia knew she and Christopher would never part. She loved him like she had never loved anyone else, but now, it felt like something was lacking. They called each other “Husband” and “Wife,” yet they had only acknowledged themselves on paper as Domestic Partners.
After several weeks of listening to the story of the woman at the well, the couple felt heavy-hearted.
“I felt so blessed by the Lord that I wanted to do the right thing for Him in all the things I do in my life,” Nydia said. “But here I was, intentionally being disobedient. Yes, we had papers, but we hadn’t stood in front of the Lord properly. We both realized that it was important and necessary to honor our love through the Lord.”
Nydia and Christopher were married just three short weeks later on February 14, before their friends and family, with Pastor Omar officiating.
“The Lord just made everything happen for me,” she said. “The fact that Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well was a big deal for me because that was me then and it is me today. He met me here, at my couch, when I was sick and gave me everything; that was my well.”
Now that they have acknowledged their relationship before the Lord, Nydia and Christopher feel like they can move their family of seven forward in growth and faith in Christ. Nydia is excited to continue falling deeper in love with the Lord and all that He has for her.
“Even through hardships or challenges, my life has a sense of peace and purpose now,” she said, “for I am loved infinitely.”
By Jeannie Rodriguez
CF Stories is a collection that displays God at work in the lives of people at Christ Fellowship in Miami, FL. Each of us are a part of a bigger picture that shows God moving in our city, and these stories aim to give a name and a voice to many of the 100,000 they are reaching in our city and around the world. First published on the CF Blog.