Self-reliance, I have realised, is a bit of a misnomer. In order to achieve it, you have to be totally reliant—on the Lord. Some examples to support my premise: Nephi building the boat to reach the promised land, Noah building the ark to survive the flood, the Jaredites building the barges to cross the deep. Sea and boats seem to be a theme.
But there are others in our everyday lives. My most memorable one had to do with modesty.
Some years ago, my daughter was invited by her boyfriend (now husband) to attend a very important work event that needed a reasonably formal dress. They went shopping and came back with this very cute but totally immodest dress. This was on a Tuesday, and the function was on the Friday. They had a minor request of me. “Please, adapt this for it to be modest enough for me to wear comfortably,” my daughter asked. Their trusting eyes and faith in me was touching but misplaced. I was effectively a non-sewer.
After succumbing to a panic attack, I figured that I was in the same boat as Nephi had been. Maybe not. I did at least own a good sewing machine. I beseeched the Lord for help, and quickly. I was a working mom, so I only had a few evenings to perform a miracle.
We found some fabric that could help. This was a strapless dress with a laced-up bodice showing lots of back. Straps were made, a bolero jacket covered bare shoulders, but the back was still a problem. I managed to fashion an insert to go behind the lacing, and at the end of it, it looked pretty good. We dubbed it the “Minnie Mouse” dress, as the black on red spots reminded us of her. That dress represented a very spiritual experience for me. I prayed at almost every stitch! The Lord gave me inspiration where I had no knowledge and guided my hands every inch of the way. Now I wonder why I didn’t call on more knowledgeable sewing friends. The idea didn’t occur to me. As a result, I had the most tangible experience of relying on the Lord to date.
I suppose a modified dress and a boat are not comparable, but examples of faith and the Lord’s love and interest in our lives are transferable. And that is one of the most important benefits I gain by reading the scriptures.