The Broken Limb

Lisa Hanisch is married and the mother of two. She was baptized a Methodist, but the family rarely attended church. “We were taught that there was a God, and He heard our prayers and guided us,” Lisa says, “but there was little formal training.” When she was thirteen, for various reasons, she lost the remnants of her faith, and during these years, she felt very alone. By the time Lisa was 21, however, she had begun to pray again, and she found that God was becoming very real. “I had come to realize that everything happens for a reason, and it’s my job to learn the lesson, not to understand why. I tell you this so you understand that my belief in angels comes not from teaching or my grandmother’s yarns, but from actual experience.”

About five years ago, Lisa, her husband Dave and their two children were doing some Sunday yard work. Dave was trimming tree limbs that were starting to hang over the roof. He was on the extension ladder, holding the chain saw, and Lisa was standing on the bottom rung to steady it. The children were dragging the small branches and debris to the street.

Dave was cutting a good sized limb from a Black Oak tree, a very heavy and hard wood. “We had done this a hundred times,” Lisa says, “and Dave knew what he was doing. Each time he cut a limb, he would make a half pass through it, then cut another pass, and the branch would fall away from us, and land in the front of the house.” As she says, they had done it frequently.

Right now, Dave made his first half-pass through another branch, and started his second cut. Then, “as I stood looking up at the limb, it suddenly just broke off for no reason,” says Lisa. “I could see it heading straight for me and the bottom of the ladder. If I jumped off, it would take out the ladder and Dave would fall with the chain saw, from quite a way up.” But there wasn’t time for her to jump away…

Lisa turned her head and lifted her hand palm up, even with her shoulder. Casually she caught the large branch one-handed! Her arm recoiled, but she held on and tossed it easily to the side.

Shaken, Dave scampered down the ladder. "Are you all right, are you all right?" He kept shouting. The kids were horrified. But Lisa assured everyone that she was fine, and brushed the dirt and loose bark splinters from her forearm and shoulder. “My arm stung a bit from the abrasions, but I was really OK and very calm,” she says. "Let's move this thing to the side," she said to Dave, "and call it quits for today".

Still somewhat stunned, Dave grabbed a section of the limb to lift it, while Lisa took hold of a portion on her side. Shocked, their eyes met. They couldn’t budge it. The limb was unbelievably heavy. Later, when the children volunteered to help, the four of them could only drag it an inch or so at a time.

“I knew then, if I had ever questioned it before, that there are indeed Guardian Angels,” Lisa says. “There was no way I could have caught that limb by myself and just tossed it aside. It should have landed on me, and I would have been killed.”

Lisa has never forgotten that moment. She knows she does not walk through life alone. No matter what the adversity, God will see her through.

Joan Anderson Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson, used with permission. Originally appeared on the Where Angels Walk website,

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