The answers that hurt

God’s timing. It’s always right isn’t it? But it hurts sometimes.

In my short twenty years of living I’ve come to learn this a few times.

I grew up a competitive power tumbler. It was my everything. I carried a little notebook to school with me and wrote my tumbling goals in it. When I was at the gym I was happy. And when my head would hit the pillow at the end of the day I’d dream of leotards and back flips.

Maybe you’ve heard this story if you know me very well. But as I was finishing my junior year I competed at the Power Tumbling Utah State Championships. I did the best I’d ever done and found myself with a silver medal and a score that qualified me for what would have been my fourth national championships.

I had it made. Or so I thought. But at the time I truly believed I was on my way to achieving the one thing that would make me happy.

Fortunately for me God knows what would really make me happy. And He knew that tumbling wasn’t it. Long story short I received one of the most distinct promptings that I needed to quit tumbling. Many questioned this decision because it didn’t really make much sense. And while I couldn’t see what would come from this decision I decided to act anyways. I did the hardest thing I had ever done. I quit tumbling.

Over three years later I look back on my life and see how much God has directed me to where I need to be. I see the blessings I received from following that one little prompting. But at the time I knew I just had to act in faith that everything would work out for my good. Even if it hurt.

But while I see the blessings from that experience, I still sometimes have a hard time believing that the trials I face now really will work out.

When I came home from my mission a couple months ago I met a boy. A cute boy I might add. I liked this boy a lot and we started dating. I felt like the protagonist in a Disney Channel Original movie. Again, I felt like I had it made. I felt like I was on my way to achieving the one thing that would make me happy.

But I guess I still had something to learn about God’s timing, and His plan because this cute boy recently told me he had been praying about our relationship and received an answer to his prayers. As he told me about the answer he had received my throat felt like it was choking as I fought the tears that were flooding to my eyes.

This answer hurt.

And doesn’t it often feel like this? Haven’t we all looked towards the heavens and questioned why things aren’t working out the way we want them to?

I went for a drive tonight as the sun was setting just to think.

I watched the sun set with beautiful pink colors as I talked to my Heavenly Father. I asked Him about His plan. I asked Him why things have worked out the way they have. I asked Him what I needed to learn from this.

A familiar song from my phone played through my speakers.
While I can’t say I know how things will turn out for me and the trials I face in my life, I can say that I have faith in God’s timing. I know that His plan is to make our lives beautiful. Sometimes God’s creative process includes a little heartbreak here and there. But I know it’s those strokes of heartbreak on the canvas of our lives that creates the contrast that allows us to see the beautiful and bright parts of our lives. Our lives just wouldn’t look quite as beautiful without them.

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”
-Mosiah 4:9

So now I’ll trust in that. I’ll trust that He knows what He’s doing with my life even if I can’t see the outcome yet. Because just as it says in Romans…


“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” 
-Romans 8:28

So to all my friends out there in similar situations… have faith. Trust that things will work together for your good as you trust Him. Because I know without a doubt that His plan is always and forever will be the best plan.

-Whit

Studio C Extra!

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Studio C! Good. Now that you are raising your hand stupidly while staring at your little LCD screen I want to tell you about a super awesome experience I had.

Have you seen Studio C yet? It's hilarious! And completely family-friendly! Giving away a ROKU on the blog this week so your family can enjoy too! #StudioC #roku:
For those of you who aren’t raising your hand, Studio C is an awesome and hilarious family-friendly comedy show that plays on BYUtv every Monday at 10pm ET/8pm MT and is always available on YouTube. I highly recommend you all go watch some of their videos.  (Also read this blog post about the time I went to a fireside by Mallory Everton.)
The other day I had the crazy opportunity to be an extra on the set of a Studio C sketch! We filmed all night long in a dark creepy (probably haunted) abandoned warehouse in Provo. Filming began at 11:00 pm and I was on set until 6:00 am the next day and I must say that I have gained so much more respect for the filming process that takes place to make these clips. Talking to the cast members we learned that it can easily take 14 hours to make one 4 minute video and sometimes that means filming in the middle of the night. These guys are rock stars and pretty much the nicest people ever. Many of the cast members took time to talk to us and take pictures with us in between takes and it was so much fun to be able to get a little bit of the behind the scenes process. 
We were asked not to post pictures that we took while filming until after the skit airs, but here are a few pictures we got with a few of the cast members before filming started as well as a picture of the abandoned warehouse. 

Everybody watch Studio C season 6 which airs this Monday and watch out for my very average dance moves later on in the season!
Aside from occasionally hanging out on TV sets in the middle of the night, I’m quickly getting closer to Orlando! I report to the MTC in a whopping 17 days and I am definitely in crazy mode. There are so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind at a million miles an hour and it seems every other minute I feel different about leaving. Currently I’d say I’m excited to go, but not quite ready to leave.
Next week is my last week of coaching tumbling which I have been doing since I was a little thirteen year old and the kids I coach mean the world to me. I’m so grateful that I have been able to have this job for the last 6 years and leaving the gym is going to be one of the hardest parts about leaving. But that being said, I know it’s my time to accept my call to serve so I want my tumbling kids to know that I love them to pieces. Tumble hard for me okay?
My farewell is next Sunday on the 13th and I am very excited to see everyone! If you want information about that check out my previous blog post. 
So I will see you all soon! And in the mean time here are a few of my favorite Studio C sketches for you to watch. 

I love you all!

-Whit

Someone else’s trial

I walked into a room full of people from every walk of life. I was unknowing as to what kind of a meeting this would be I was surprised to notice that the chairs were laid out in a large circle all facing the center. My aunt with her young children running around in circles was seated a few seats to my right. My neighbor who had reticently set out on his mission on the other side of the globe was sitting across the room. As I sat there I noticed a lady who’s husband had died of cancer only a week before sitting next to her daughter who was now left fatherless. Seated next to me was the girl from my math class that did’t have anyone to eat lunch with and on the other side of her was the girl with bright curly hair who reticently stared in a movie. As I sat and observed the dynamics of the situation I watched as all the people I had met through my life as they began to file into the room. Each with their own unique trials and concerns.
But I didn’t notice those concerns on the outside. I began to think about how cool it would be if I could have that curly hair and star in a movie, I looked at the girl who ate lunch by herself and thought “well if she wanted friends to eat with she would come over and ask if she can sit with us.” I looked around each person in the circle and looked at how magnificent their lives were. I was jealous of the girl was sitting by her mom because she had the nicest car and the widow because she had a nice house. 
As I sat their noticing everything that these people had I began to want what each of them had. I wanted their cool houses and their nice shoes. I wanted to travel like they did and I wanted a job that paid better. I wanted to have their money and their home lives.
While sitting in my covetous state as each person settled into their seats a man stood up and welcomed us and thanked us all for coming. I, still not knowing what this meeting was for, assumed it would be like any other church meeting where we would sing a song, say a prayer, and then listen to a teacher for a few minutes before going home.
The man in charge said that we would be singing hymn number 241 Count Your Blessing and then we would have an opening prayer by sister Parkin. I opened up my hymn book and muttered through the versus and then closed my eyes for the prayer. Sister Parkin stood up and prayed that during this meeting we would all be able to pick new trials that would be easier for us. She also prayed that we might be able to have a good rest of our Sabbath day and that we might be able to drive home in safety when the time came. 
After she said amen the man that was conducting stood up again. He said that today we were all going to pick new trials. He asked us to take out ours and place them in the center of the circle. I was more excited than I had ever been. I thought for sure I had the hardest trials in the group and felt relieved that I would be able to get somebody elses. I quickly opened up my purse and pulled out my trials and tossed them in the center. After everybody had put theirs in the middle he said that one by one we would take turns picking new trials. As I waited for my turn I sat in anticipation about what new trials I would get. I watched as each person would get off their chairs and begin to dig through the large pile of trials and pick out the ones they wanted.
When it came to my turn I got off my cold metal chair and knelt on the hard blue carpet. I began to sort through the pile. While on my knees I read about a trial of having your husband die of cancer and how hard it would be. Because this is a more public trial I knew exactly who had thrown it in the circle. I decided I didn’t really want that one so I threw it back in the pile. I pulled one out that said that their family was in pieces and that they couldn’t remember the last time they did something as a family without someone getting into a fight. I for sure didn’t want that one so I threw it back. I read about the teenager who struggles with a pornography addiction but doesn’t want to tell anybody. I read about a trial of a first grader who got picked on at school for his lisp and a fourth grader that was reticently diagnosed with epilepsy. I read about the lady with lots of kids and not enough money to buy them Christmas presents and the sixth grader who had recently found out she was adopted. I read about the lady who desperately wanted another child but wasn’t able to have one. 
As I dug through this pile I began to think about how none of these trials fit me. I quickly found my original trials and stuffed them back in my pocket and sat down.
After all of the trials had been taken from the center the man conducting stood up and read a quote by Regina Brett that said;

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.


We all sat in shock as we realized that that was exactly what each of us had done. I stuck my hand in my purse and felt my trials between my fingers.
He went on saying that while on the outside we all think we want what everybody else has and that we must surely have the hardest trials when we begin to look at the bigger picture we realize that these trials we’ve been given were designed specifically for us so that we might be able to become stronger and have joy.
I raised my hand and asked “how in the world do trials bring us joy?”
He smiled as he opened up his scriptures to 2 Nephi 2:25 which reads “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” 
He then pointed out that under the footnote for the word “joy” it said that joy is the potential to become like our Heavenly Father.
It was then I realized that joy is not found in a big house or in becoming a famous YouTuber. It was then that I realized joy meant becoming like our Father in Heaven. 
Then another man walked into the room. He was wearing red and had a beard and He looked at each of us with kind eyes. The man conducting the meeting introduced him to us as our brother. Our brother went around the room and collected each of our trials from us and told us that he would go through each of them before we had to. 
He did this so that we might be able to have somebody to ask when we have questions about our trials, so that we might be able to have a shoulder to cry on when it feels like it’s too hard to move on, or a hand to squeeze when the pain gets too bad. He told us that he would carry us every step of the way and that he would always be with us silently waiting for us to ask him for help. He then promised that if we endured our trials well that we would be exalted on high. 
I realized that to be exalted on high meant that we would become like our Heavenly Father and we would return to meet with Him in heaven. I realized that this was the ultimate joy that everybody was speaking of. I discovered that we needed these trials to become perfected and that while this man they said was my brother couldn’t take them away, he would help me.
He then told us that his name was Jesus Christ. I remembered learning about Him in my primary class. He showed us his scars from where they nailed him to the cross so that we might all be able to live again. He also told us about how he suffered for each of our sins so that we could be made clean and how we can be cleaned by that atonement through repenting and being baptized.
At the close of the meeting after Brother Wall said the closing prayer the Savior hugged each of us and told us that He loved us.

An image of Christ comforting a woman, with a text overlay quoting Elder D. Todd Christofferson: “The Savior makes all things right.”
When I left that room I knew that even though on the outside we all feel like others have better circumstances, that each of us were given trials that would make us strong. I also knew that the Savior was indeed our brother and that he loves us each so much that he was willing to suffer for all of our trials and afflictions so that we might be made whole. I also know that He died for us so that each of us would be able to live again.

Portrait of Christ smiling
Our Savior loves us. He is our brother and He wants us to return with Him to live with our Father in Heaven and that He will do anything to help us get back. While the story of throwing our trials in a circle was just a story, I know that the fact that we have a brother that did these things for us is with out a doubt true. I know this because I felt it. I learned this through reading the Book of Mormon and praying for my own testimony of these things. I know He is there and that He loves us more than we will ever comprehend. My testimony of Jesus Christ has brought me more joy and happiness than I have ever felt from anything else in my life. This is why I write this blog, It’s why I have chosen to serve a mission in Orlando Florida in 38 days, because I want everybody to hear about how great their brother is and how much they are loved. I hope that I can follow in His footsteps and be his disciple. I hope that you come unto Him.
feel my sunlight
p.s. I went through the temple on August 1st! It was amazing and I loved every second of it! It is defiantly the Lord’s house and his spirit dwells there.
p.s.s. Shout out to all my friends starting college next week! I love you all to pieces and will miss you bunches. Goodbyes are hard, but it will all be worth it in the end. The best is yet to come.

So I don’t cry when I bear my testimony

You’re sitting on a church pew that has been covered in a deep burgundy colored fabric as you eye the small child in front of you during the month’s fast and testimony meeting.

You are touched by the speakers testimony. You can feel the Holy Ghost testifying to your heart that the words you are hearing are true, but as you sit there it feels like you and the baby might be the only two in the room who aren’t crying during this testimony meeting because of the spirit in the room.
As fast as this thought enters into your mind the child starts to scream and their dad carries them out.
You begin to wonder why you don’t cry when you feel the spirit.
A picture flashes in your mind of girls camp testimony meeting last summer where all the girls sat on logs around a campfire. One by one each girl would stand up and mutter what they knew to be true through tear-filled eyes and a chocked up throat. As it came to be your turn you stood up and rattled off that you know Joseph Smith was a true prophet, because you do. You also tell how you know that he really did translate the Book of Mormon and that you know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. You know this because you’ve read it and you’ve prayed about it. You share your testimony of the Savior and his Atonement. You’ve seen it work in your life. You share this testimony and as fast as you stood up, you sit down without a single tear falling from your face.
As the testimony meeting comes to a close you watch awkwardly as your young women leaders hug the girls that are still crying. They thank them for their beautiful testimonies and tell them how amazing they are as you sit and think “did my testimony not mean anything?”
This question, in addition to many others have run through my mind on several occasions during various testimony meetings, and church events through my life. These thoughts include, but are not limited to;
“Why don’t I cry when bearing my testimony?”
“Am I really even feeling the spirit?”
“Should I pretend to cry so that I can fit in?”
“Why do my leaders seem to like the girls that cry more than those that don’t?”
“I wonder if my leaders even believe that I do have a testimony because they’ve never seen me cry.”
“I just want to be able to cry.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Now my leaders are crying…”
“I don’t know what to do when people leak.”

These examples are my personal experiences, and they may or may not be your personal experiences too.
Now I must insert a disclaimer in here: I’m in no-way stating that it’s bad to cry when you bear your testimony. It’s great and I honestly wish I was like those of you that do, but what I am saying is that it’s okay if you don’t.
There. I said it. It’s okay if you don’t cry when you bear your testimony.
President Howard W. Hunter said: “I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the Spirit. Certainly the Spirit of the Lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the Spirit itself.”

Say what?!
I have never been a cryer. Sure, I have had experiences when tears have been present, but for the most part I don’t cry when bearing my testimony, and neither does my mom or my sister.
For a long time I was self-conscious about it. I sometimes wouldn’t bear my testimony because I didn’t want to be looked down upon for not crying. Oh how I was so wrong.
In the Book of Mormon we read about King Benjamin’s sermon that he gave to his people where he bore testimony of his personal witness of the Savior. 
When he had just borne witness to the people, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy … because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come.”
“filled with joy.”
To me the phrase “filled with joy” doesn’t put a picture in my mind of a bunch of people crying around a campfire. To me that is a group of people who have just had their lives changed. They have new-found knowledge and strengthened testimonies and they are excited about it. They are motivated for change. This is how I want my testimony to affect people. 
I was having a discussion about this topic with my mom and sister some time ago. My mom brought up a good point. Watch just one session of General Conference and you witness testimony after testimony of some of the Lord’s most righteous servants. These are men that commune with God on a daily, and dare I say, minutely basis. These are men that have constant spiritual experiences and that have firm testimonies. Yet, for the majority of the time they don’t spend their time at the pulpit crying.
If I could pick a favorite conference talk this would be it. Here is a powerful testimony of a man called of God. In fact, this is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard, yet he didn’t cry.
So my conclusion is this: If you are in a situation where you have the chance to bear your testimony then do it. If you get chocked up and feel tears swelling in your eyes then let them out. It is an amazing thing to be so passionate about something that it moves you to show emotion, but I also conclude this; that if by chance you stand up and begin to proclaim your testimony and tears don’t begin to swell in your eyes; stand firm. You’re testimony is no less than anybody else’s. Your testimony can bring so many to know of the truth and you just might be the one that says something that somebody else needs to hear. Never again will I hold back my testimony because I don’t feel that it is good enough. Never again will I hide the joy that the gospel brings to me. Because it is just that; joy. And I want to share it.

feel my sunlight

p.s. I can submit my mission papers in 31 days!!!


#knowHElives

Portrait of Christ smiling

ahhh I can taste spring in the air. It’s wonderful.

I mean… It’s spring break and both Easter and Conference are next week. I don’t think life could get any sweeter.

I started working on mission papers and it feels fabulous! I had an interview with my bishop last Sunday and I am so excited about this new gospel adventure that I am about to embark on. (see what I did there?!) I also need to say thanks to my incredible young womens leaders who dropped off a cute “congrats on starting your papers” present earlier this week. It made my day. I have the very best leaders. I love you guys! 
One countdown finished and onto the next one! 55 days until I can submit my papers!
This month my school’s seminary council extended a challenge that everyone spread their testimonies about Christ by posting pictures, quotes, and testimonies on social media with the hashtag

#knowHElives
You should all go look up that hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It is all kinds of awesome!

And to wrap up this fantastic challenge we asked students (and teachers) to finish the sentence

“Because I know HE lives….”

This was what they said…
As you might have noticed I have a picture in there that said that I would “share my testimony on my blog” so here it is.

I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I know He once walked the earth with the saints and he taught the truest doctrine of love. I know that He Atoned for all of my sins, and that He also Atoned for all of my pains and afflictions. I know that He died so that we might all be able to return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. I also believe that if I had been the only person that needed this pure act of love that He would still have done it because He loves me that much. I also know that He would have done the same for each of you. I know he was resurrected and that because of Him death has no sting. I know that He loves me so much more than I can even comprehend and that He wants what’s very best for me. I know that He will direct my path as long as I’m willing to follow Him. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is in fact, HIS church and that He is the head of it which is why it is the only church with His complete gospel on the earth today. I know that He lives. Because I know that He lives I will prepare to dedicate 18 months of my life to His service by serving a mission. I will also dedicate every second after that to loving Him and building his kingdom. I will do this by not being afraid to share my testimony, by loving everyone around me, and by letting His light shine through me (hence the blog name….”feel my sunlight.”) I promise to do my very best, and because I know that alone I will never be enough, I also promise to rely on Him everyday. Because He is almighty, and all-knowing. He is ever loving and everlasting. He is Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father. He is my Savior, And He is my Redeemer.

And I love Him.

What parts of your are changed…
#BecauseHeLives?

What are you going to do…
#BecauseOfHim?

How are you going to help others…
#KnowHelives?


In addition to my testimony I also thought I’d add a “what I’m listening to right now” section because I know that you guys like them. I’ve been on a Christian music kick lately. {I’ve had my radio set to play K love for over a month.} So here is the music that have been playing through my headphones lately…

feel my sunlight
p.s. Who’s excited for #LDSconf tomorrow and next week?!? I AM!

p.s.s. Shout out to all my seniors out there… ONLY ONE MORE TERM OF HIGH SCHOOL!

p.s.s.s. Sorry this is such a long post, but I just have to share this picture I found on Pinterest… It’s the single cutest thing I have ever seen.

I am a child of God