09271_000_044Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed (Hymns, no. 85).
Lucinda looked at the note and shoved it to the bottom of her scripture bag.
“Lucinda has been asked to give a talk in Primary next week,” the note said.
Lucinda did not like giving talks. Standing up at the podium and looking out at all the children seated in the Primary room terrified her. She hated the way her voice shook and sounded so strange over the microphone. Even the little Sunbeams, she thought, did a better job.
Lucinda decided she would not show the note to her mom. If Mom didn’t know about the talk, then next week Lucinda could just tell Sister Fife that she had forgotten to prepare. It sounded like a good plan.
By Friday afternoon, Lucinda really had forgotten about the talk. As she sat in her room enjoying a new art project, she heard the phone ring. A few minutes later, Mom poked her head into Lucinda’s room.
“Lucinda, that was Sister Fife reminding you that you were asked to give a talk on Sunday.”
Lucinda flopped down on her bed. “I don’t want to give a talk,” she grumbled.
“But you always prepare such nice lessons for family home evening,” Mom said.
“But that’s with our family,” Lucinda said. “This is different. I get so scared speaking in front of everyone.”
“Heavenly Father will help you,” Mom said.
“But I’m still scared.”
“Well, if you really don’t want to do it, you’d better call Sister Fife and let her know,” Mom said.
Lucinda buried her face in her pillow. She was too shy to call the Primary president. That would be as scary as giving the talk. There was nothing else Lucinda could do. She got up and started writing.
All through church on Sunday, Lucinda worried about her talk. Every time she thought about it her stomach tightened and her heart started beating faster. Soon, she was sitting up front in the Primary room for Primary closing exercises.
Sister Fife called her name, and Lucinda walked to the microphone. She placed her talk on the podium and saw all the children and teachers. Lucinda’s hands shook. She said a silent prayer and opened her mouth, but the words just wouldn’t come out. Lucinda didn’t know what to do. She stood there, staring down at her paper.
It got very quiet in the room. It seemed like a long time went by, and Lucinda was frozen with fear. Then she took a deep breath and started to speak. The words of her talk began rushing out. Before she knew what had happened, it was over.
As Lucinda sat down, a warm feeling spread through her chest. She knew that Heavenly Father had helped her. And if He could help her get through a talk, He could help her get through anything.
“We must not [give in] to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. He does hear us. He does see us. He does love us.” 4
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Ensign, Sept. 2009, 29.
Illustrations by Julie F. Young