Another Story from Betsy Nagel's Women's Conference talk BYU 2006
3. Seek comfort and peace from the scriptures (Nancy)
Let me tell you about another shining face. Nancy grew up in the little Louisiana bayou town of Thibodaux. She joined the church as a young adult and married a lifelong member who was in Louisiana to work the oil rigs one summer. Twenty seven years and seven children later, Nancy found herself divorced, moved out of their beautiful Uptown New Orleans home, and living in student housing with three teenagers and an eight year old, while she was finishing a degree in order to support her family.
When Katrina hit, they evacuated to Thibodaux where most of her large Catholic family still lived. Since it would be a few months before they could get back into New Orleans, she put the children in school, enrolled in classes herself and arranged for a place to live. It had been an abandoned cottage, across the street from her parents and next door to the family meat market. With the help of about 20 extended family members, the cottage was renovated and made habitable. Nancy proudly showed us pictures of the new kitchen, and the tidy bedrooms.
She expressed gratitude for the safety of her family and the help of extended family and friends, but also great anxiety about the future and special concern for her children. A few days later I was reading 3 Nephi 22, where Jesus is quoting Isaiah. He speaks of the floods of Noah. I thought of the floods of Katrina. He talks about the Lord hiding his face for a moment. I thought of Nancy trying to figure out her life alone. Isaiah speaks of foundations with sapphires and windows with agates and gates of carbuncles. Then it says, "Great shall be the peace of thy children…..This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord." (3Ne 22:13.17) The words jumped right off the page and I could see Nancy’s little cottage, studded with jewels, her children, faithful and loving and supportive of her. So I wrote her a note and told her of this experience. I want to read to you the note that came in reply.
"I was on my way to Baton Rouge on Friday night to attend the temple when I checked the mail and found your card. I took out my scriptures to search for the reference you mentioned. In doing so, I realized the verses you referred to were part of the chapter that the Lord led me to, 2 days after the hurricane. I was praying and crying and figured I’d better open the scriptures to search for comfort. The electricity was still out and I was in a hot room reading with a flashlight. The page opened to the Topical Guide on the "W" page and my tear-filled eyes fell on the word, "widow." I went to 3 Ne 22. It truly comforted me on another one of my moments of enlightenment amid hardship. So it was with your card as I re-read the verses and this time pictured my new little sanctuary set in gems and my children being blessed and watched over by a loving Father in Heaven."
As we learn to feed our spirits and find comfort through the scriptures, our "assurance of things hoped for" will increase. A new song, or as Nancy says, "a moment of enlightenment" can come, even in the midst of great hardship and heartache. "With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." (3Ne 22:8) With this comfort, we can continue to step forward towards the light ahead, dim as it may sometimes seem.