Three weeks ago, I had a tiny anxious thought enter my brain around one o’clock in the morning as I was about to collapse into bed: I wonder if my toddler has diabetes.
My niece had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes the year before, so any hints of the telltale signs of extra thirst and urination in my sons usually sent me running to online lists to see if there was any other symptomatic evidence. I looked through the lists that night, and I decided he was probably just going through a thirsty phase since he didn’t have any other clear symptoms.
Still unable to completely dismiss the uneasy feeling, I had another thought that immediately eased my mind. I remembered that we were planning to see my sister (the one whose daughter has diabetes) the next day. She had offered to check my kids’ blood sugar any time, so I decided to ask her to do it during our visit to confirm that nothing was wrong. I put a reminder into my phone and fell asleep.
You can probably guess where the story goes from there. Much to everyone’s shock, the results of that blood sugar test proved my concern correct, and a few hours later, my husband and I began a two-day crash course on how to care for a child with Type 1 diabetes.
The days and weeks that followed were a blur, but I remember several people asking me, “What symptoms did you see? How did you know to check?” I didn’t know how to answer because it felt surreal that my late-night thought had turned into a life-changing diagnosis. We had caught the disease almost as early as it can be caught, and truthfully, the only symptoms I could identify were increased thirst and uncommonly wet diapers.
Because of this, people praised me for being in tune with the Spirit or called it a prompting, but I skirted around the word and felt uncomfortable with these comments. I felt guilty believing that I was spiritual enough to recognize and follow such a significant prompting. My current daily gospel habits left much to be desired, and by all spiritual accounts, I didn’t think I was worthy of receiving such an important communication from the Holy Ghost.
I mulled over these uncomfortable thoughts for nearly a week, and by the end of that week, I knew one thing for sure: there was no other explanation for the events and thoughts that led to my son’s diagnosis. My thought to have my sister test his blood sugar had to have been a spiritual prompting. But how could that be when I felt so unworthy of it?
While pondering this question, a video came to mind. It was set to part of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s 2014 talk “Living the Gospel Joyful” and featured people walking around on a rainy day with umbrellas over their heads. In the video, Elder Uchtdorf states:
"We imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us."
It hit me that if Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us, then maybe, just maybe, even if I was not a perfect disciple or skilled at recognizing the Spirit, there were still blessings raining down on me. Perhaps my experience was less about me being worthy or not worthy and more about me noticing the guidance that was already there. I simply needed to pay attention to those existing blessings.
Perhaps Heavenly Father had already been raining blessings down on me by keeping diabetes symptoms in the front of my mind, giving me the thought to plan a day trip to visit my siblings, reminding me that my sister had offered to test my kids’ blood sugar, and prompting me to make a reminder in my phone to ask her—something I don’t normally do in the middle of the night.
In other words, whether I felt I was worthy or not, God wanted to and was trying to bless me and my family. And even during a less-than-diligent spiritual slump, He was able to use me to bless another one of His children because I always have the ability to pay attention to, accept, and act upon God’s constant blessings and promptings.
As a parent, it’s especially important to know that God loves our children and will constantly rain down blessings on them—often through those watching over them. If I had not listened to that prompting, I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t believe that if something bad happens to our children, then it’s our fault for missing a prompting. But I do know that God is always aware of my needs and the needs of those I love and care for. He can still work through parents’ limitations and weaknesses to bless His little children.
This shower of blessings and promptings on parents doesn’t just apply to spiritual knowledge and guidance. As our family navigates life with Type 1 diabetes, I expect more inspiration about physical needs will become important. As my sister said to me after our son’s diagnosis, “God knows how our bodies work, and He knows [your son] and his body, so He can guide you to solutions and answers.”
President Eyring shared in his October 2023 conference talk:
“We need, and you will need, the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Now, we desire it, yet we know from experience that it is not easy to achieve. We each think and say and do things in our daily lives that can offend the Spirit.
“When that happens, as it will, we may feel disapproval from the Lord. And we may be tempted to feel we are alone. It is important to remember the sure promise we receive each week as we repent and partake of the sacrament: ‘That they may always have his Spirit to be with them.’
“If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost today, you may take it as a sweet evidence that the Atonement is working in your life.
“… I testify that the Lord has kept His promise. The Holy Ghost is being sent to the faithful covenant members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Now, your experiences will be unique, and the Spirit will guide in the way best suited to your faith and capacity to receive revelation for you and for those you love and serve. I pray with all my heart that your confidence will grow (emphasis added).”
I like this quote because it again reminds me that I am never alone—God’s blessings are always raining down. And any time I recognize and act on the influence of the Holy Ghost, I am taking steps forward in my spiritual life.
I also love the reminder that God speaks to us in ways that make sense to us personally and match our current spiritual levels. I may not have been as quick to act on a prompting to go to the emergency room, but I felt peace at the thought of taking that first step to talk with my sister.
As we follow small promptings and recognize revelation, our ability to follow the Spirit will improve. A piano teacher once reminded me, “If you’re good at the piano without practicing, imagine how much better you could be if you did practice!” It is the same with spiritual practice—we may all have a small level of proficiency at recognizing a few promptings, but imagine how many more promptings we could receive and how much more good we could do if we practiced recognizing them more.
Going back to my late-night prompting, I’m grateful to know that no matter where I am on the imaginary “worthiness scale,” God cares about me and my children. He will meet me with His blessings wherever I’m at.
And now, as my family navigates life with Type 1 diabetes, I look forward to having more opportunities than ever to recognize God’s blessings and promptings—because they are constantly raining down.