Instant Messages

By Natalie Hickman


Like the Nauvoo Saints

A few years ago, my family and I were lucky enough to visit the great city of Nauvoo. It was such a quiet and peaceful place. I really enjoyed visiting many of the prophets’ homes.

I also had the privilege to go to the Nauvoo Temple and participate in baptisms for some of my ancestors. The Nauvoo Temple was beautiful inside and out. I felt a special spirit there and was grateful to the early Saints in Nauvoo. Building the temple was so important to them. They worked hard to finish the temple’s construction, so they could complete temple ordinances and make and keep sacred covenants before they were forced out of this beautiful city.

As our time to leave the city of Nauvoo drew near, I felt very sad. It was easy to imagine how difficult it was for the early Saints to leave. My family and I walked down Parley Street, following the Trail of Hope. As I looked back at the Nauvoo Temple, it stood so beautiful and brilliant on the hill. I realized that the Saints of Nauvoo had great faith to leave their beautiful homes and a temple of God. As I walked to the very edge of the Mississippi River, I recognized that many of the early Saints did not know where they were going. They had great faith that God would guide them and protect them.

While in Nauvoo, I realized that I want to have faith as strong as the early Saints. I want to follow our living prophet and trust in my Heavenly Father as they did.

Getting through Hard Times

One day in seminary, in the year when we were studying the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history, we were studying section 122. My teacher had us write down a few problems or trials in our life at the time. Then we read verse 7 of that section. The last part of it says, “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” Then my teacher had us write down our trials in a sentence and add this to the end.

This verse really hit me hard, and I realized that I’m meant to go through the hard times I have in my life. I have realized that the Lord has a plan, and He knows what I’m going through. He knows that I can handle it. And I know that if I ask for help, having faith that it will happen, He will be able to help me through these hard times.

Fear Not

One night when I was a new Beehive, I awoke from a bad dream. I didn’t want to wake my parents because I thought I was too old for nightmares, but this one really shook me up, and I was scared.

While I was sitting up, I remembered the lesson we had about the scriptures the previous Sunday. My teacher talked about how the scriptures can comfort us and guide us if we read them with the Spirit. So I took out my scriptures and looked up the term “fear” in the Topical Guide. I scanned a few scriptures and then Isaiah 41:10 popped out of the page at me. The words that caught my eye were, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee.” These simple words comforted me and made me realize that Heavenly Father was with me. He was there to comfort me, even for something as silly as a nightmare.

Hanging Out with Mom and Dad

When I was about to enter ninth grade, my dad announced that our family was moving from Utah to Colorado. I was excited to make new friends and experience a different world, but my expectations changed after my first day at my new junior high school.

I felt lonely and miserable for a long time. Eventually, I shrugged it off and worked hard at school. For the first time since elementary school, I received straight A’s. I spent my nights at home reading. For the next four years, many of my Friday nights were spent with my parents.

Although I had a hard time making friends at school, I realized the love my parents had for me. My mom and my dad became my best friends.

My dad got up at 5:45 a.m. to take me to seminary. During those early-morning drives, I bonded with my dad. We talked about everything from the latest news to politics and money. Although my dad is not a talker, he would listen as I rattled on about my latest story for the school newspaper or a cute boy in one of my classes. Once in a while, he would get in a comment or two.

My mom wasn’t much different. I started spending time exercising and shopping with her. Every Saturday we would buy groceries and run errands together. I would talk endlessly while she grated cheese or prepared a roast for dinner.

In those early morning hours and on those Saturday trips, I found myself, and my testimony of the gospel grew. My parents’ love and support reminded me of my infinite worth. I didn’t have to go to dances or be student body president. I could be myself because I knew I was important, not only in my parents’ eyes, but in Heavenly Father’s eyes too. I still have hard times, but I have found that knowing the Lord loves me is miraculous and comforting.

Illustrations by Julie Rogers; photograph by David Stoker

Instant Messages

features personal experiences, insights into favorite hymns and scriptures, and other uplifting thoughts. If you have a personal experience that has strengthened your testimony and you’d like us to consider it for Instant Messages, please e-mail it to

newera@ldschurch.org

or send it to:

New Era, Instant Messages 50 E. North Temple St., Rm. 2420 Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Please limit submissions to 400 words or less. They may be edited for length and clarity.