Based on real-life events, Joyce Smith recounts her 14-year-old son John’s experience after going under an icy lake with seemingly no chance of survival. The 2019 biographical film version titled Breakthrough (now out on home video) is mostly sourced from Smith’s real-life chronicles and her 2017 book The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection. Joyce recently answered questions about this experience, her faith, and her current work.
During your early life in Ohio, what was your general outlook and experience with miracles of God before adopting your son John?
Our Pastor at Kettering Assembly of God primed me for our experience. ”God is who he says he is.” A grew up with that so I had a 14-year old foundation before.
Please share your walk of faith as a mother?
I was divorced from my first husband and I walked away from the Lord when I was a teenager. Mother said I should be where I was. Just to flip and watch what God does. He restored my life after that. By the way, He also restored my son I gave away for adoption. We have a relationship and I now have two granddaughters. God goes all the way around.
How did you concentrate on what you had to do?
God always prepare you for situations – if you let him. I was in a Bible study called “Believing God” for three weeks before John’s accident. In the mornings I would repeat “God is who and what he says – I believe.” This wasn’t by accident. Some girls would come into the hospital and say how we’re missing the Bible study. I told them no you’re not missing. We’re still meeting on a daily basis to pray and watching God orchestrate this miracle. We can step out in faith and be amazed at how He is willing to do what we ask.
Pastor Jason and I never sat across from each other. Jason became Pastor there just three months before these events. The church had a history for over 90 years so things were very traditional. Now, Jason is like one of my kids.
Please share how others and their feedback to you (even loved ones) affected your experience.
One of the things in the hospital was first having a positive atmosphere, which was a real battle. If I bought into what the doctors say, then I knew the science was not behind us, God was. We were there to keep that atmosphere. We would share with other people. The kids from the high school were sharing about what was going on with them. To sit and share was phenomenal. How these kids and all of us learned. It was God showing them who he was.
Describe your interactions with the paramedic (Tommy Shine) most directly responsible for John’s recovery.
I love Tommy …like my kids. He’s an awesome firefighter. He has a heart for people and truly helped me. At first, the experience bothered him. He was an atheist. Since then, he’s given his heart to the Lord. His mother was so happy. We spread this story and we’re still close. It’s incredible when God speaks to you and something miraculous happens.
Are you doing any future writing…maybe another book or other projects?
If I get time (laughs), I might do another book. Every weekend, I’m out speaking. It’s a special women’s ministry from now to December. It’s amazing how it impacts others. It’s such an honor to do this.
Thank you for your time.