Drowned toddler recovers after miraculous response to prayers

As we pray for the niece of Britney Spears this week, we thought of the Loboda family story, proving that sometimes prayer is truly a powerful healer.

Kristin Loboda and her daughter, Joy, January 27th. Prayforjoy | Facebook


We all know that water and unsupervised kids just don’t mix, it’s one of those recurrent nightmare situations many parents have, especially when summer comes around. With nearly ten people unintentionally drowning each day, two out of those will be children—and sadly it really just does take a split-second.

Just yesterday Britney Spears tweeted for “wishes and prayers” for her eight-year-old niece, Maddie, who was involved in a near-drowning incident. After her ATV flipped into a pond she was trapped in the vehicle and despite the attempts of family members to rescue her, they had to wait two minutes for the help of emergency services. Now in critical condition in hospital, the family are asking for prayers to help save their loved one. It’s one of those times when prayers really may be the only thing to be done.

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But how helpful is it really, to pray in dire situations like these? Well, as another family from Florida can attest to, very. Sometimes these important prayers can make all the difference.

Just before Christmas Matt and Kristin Loboda were visiting family in Phoenix, Arizona with their five children. On December 29, before heading off for lunch Matt was in the garden playing a round of Frisbee-golf with the kids. He then explains on Facebook the tragedy that occurred:

“It couldn’t have been a minute and we noticed Joy [19-months-old] was missing.

In my heart I knew something was terribly wrong. So, I ran down to the Koi pond on the property. … But, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to run to the pool. The pool is totally gated so I didn’t think to start there.

I sprinted to the pool and saw Joy floating there on top of the water. Immediately I jumped over the 5 foot fence and dove into the water. I quickly got her out of the pool and my brother-in-law and I started CPR & called 911. Even though it seemed like an eternity before the paramedics arrived I’m sure they came quickly.

As I breathed into Joy I prayed that my breath would be the breath of God into her. In between breaths I begged for the Ruha of God to enter her. Her lips were blue and her beautiful blue eyes were wide open. I could see her pupils shrinking at an alarming rate. Then I started to pray in between breathes in the words of Jesus, Talitha Koum, which means “Little girl, I say to you, arise”. I knew we needed a miracle because I could actually feel her slipping away. …

The paramedics came … I closed my eyes and prayed … Before I knew it we were in the E.R. and were escorted into a private room … I still stood in faith and declared that my child would live. The E.R. Doctor came in and [it] didn’t look good.

Then he said, “she has a heartbeat.” That was all I needed to hear. That was all the hope I was looking for.

Priests with Kristin Loboda and her daughter Joy at the hospital, January 7th. Matt Loboda | Facebook

While rescue workers attempted to save little Joy, who had no heartbeat for 25 minutes, friends put out requests for prayers on Facebook with #prayforjoy. And those prayers came flooding in. But then came the miraculous part: they seemed to work, and work very well. Although Matt said “on the ride to the hospital that he knew she was gone,” it seemed that Joy, and God, had other plans. As hundreds of people joined in prayer across the digital and virtual world, and Uncle Father Ignatius, a Franciscan friar, came to her bedside to say Mass, Joy showed signs of recovery. Despite being in an artificially induced coma, having two blood clots (necessitating an operation to save her leg), the little toddler began to heal. Her mom Kristin posted on Facebook on January 9:

In the first week after Joy’s accident I didn’t think I would ever smile again. The darkness was so dark and my body completely shut down … but through your prayers God lifted the darkness and brought our baby girl back to life. I know without a doubt that God does indeed hear and answer the prayers of His children. His glory is being made known through our Joy and I am actually smiling again as I hold my sick, but very much alive baby.”

Defying the odds, Joy is now back home and continuing to recover well, with a small walker, and a beautiful big smile on her face.

So much love for their Joy. ☺️❤️#miraclebaby #prayforjoy

A video posted by Kristin Loboda🌻 (@teamboda) on

Her dad Matt shared the news on his Facebook page saying:

It is with great gratitude that I write this. Joy has been home now for just a little over a week. I know without a doubt that God the Father heard my prayer & all the millions of prayers for Joy. He literally gave her back to us. I knew that she was gone as I performed CPR on her. But, in faith I prayed the words Jesus prayed over that twelve year old girl who was dead in the scriptures. She was dead also. She was so dead that when Jesus told them that she was only sleeping they all laughed at Him. There may be some people out there who will laugh at me. However, I prayed those Aramaic words of Jesus in and through my daughters limp body. The miracle began at that moment.
A couple of days before we were discharged, one doctor told me this & I don’t pretend to understand the science behind it. But, she said scientifically they can predict the outcome of a submersion victim by the PH level of the blood. With tears in her eyes she said Joy did not even have a PH reading! She continued to tell me how it is a miracle that she is alive and even more so that she doesn’t have any brain damage. …

Joy and her mother, January 27th. Prayforjoy | Facebook

Also full of gratitude, a very relieved dad Matt posted a video of his bundle of absolute Joy busy smiling and coloring. A beautiful story and true testimony of love, faith and hope.

We can only have faith that these prayers will continue to work for others who need them, like Maddie, the young niece of Britney Spears. So we offer our love and prayers to Maddie, and hope that she, too, can recover from her tragic accident.

Cerith Gardiner
Cerith Gardiner

Cerith Gardiner was born in London and has been living in Paris for 14 years. She spends her time working as an English consultant, acting as taxi driver to her four children, and wondering if she’ll ever be as stylish as the French.

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