Testimony: Senior Berkeley Taylor finds direction and confidence in God’s forgiveness.

Ever since I was born, I have been marked with the image of being a perfect pastor’s daughter. This image has followed me everywhere I go, whether I am at church, in the neighborhood or at school. The feeling of not meeting everyone’s expectations in the church and not having a strong enough faith was always on my mind.

After 15 years, I was tired of trying to meet everyone else’s expectations of me. I no longer wanted to fit everyone’s view that I was going to be perfect since my father is a pastor.

photo by Nathaniel Sladky
Senior Berkeley Taylor cheers at the Homecoming Pep Rally. “I was tired of trying to meet everyone else’s expectations of me,” she said. Berkeley now finds relief and identity in Christ.

During my Sophomore year, I went on a trip with my school, and on two different nights I left my room to hang out with other people on the trip. Although I did nothing more than leave my room when I was not allowed to, I knew I was violating the rules. I believed I was invincible, but I quickly found out I was wrong.

After returning to school, I was called into the principal’s office and realized I had been caught. All I could do was wonder, “What was I thinking?” Leaving my room was a terrible decision, and I knew that I had failed not only the standard set by the school, but my personal values and standards as well.

One of the hardest parts of the experience was telling my parents. I love them, and I always want to make them proud. Seeing the disappointment in their eyes only brought me more guilt and shame for what I had done. I knew I had to pay the consequences for my actions. I was suspended for two days, but my parents continuously reminded me of how much they loved me.

I was very upset for several reasons, not least of which was that I had failed others and failed myself. I was also concerned because I was scared of how my suspension would affect college acceptance and what important people in my life would think of me.

Because of my suspension, I was grounded, and I didn’t have access to my phone, so I felt shut off from everyone around me. I felt very lonely. A lot of my friends did not understand why the suspension affected me so much, and I decided instead of being mad at God for that loneliness, I would turn to Him.

Turning to God was the best decision I could’ve made. I learned that people can’t always be there for you in tough situations, but God is a forgiving and loving God who will be there for you always.

Looking back, getting suspended was one of the best things to happen to me during my high school career. Now, I no longer see myself as invincible. I am able to take a step back from life and realize the kind of person I want to be and the kind of people I want to surround myself with in life.

I also learned that failure is not final, and I can rise above my mistakes, learn my lessons and move forward. I also realized I need to do more to encourage people who feel they have made mistakes in life.

Instead of being focused on who the world tells me to be, I am confident in who I am and who I am made to be. I love being a pastor’s kid, and I wouldn’t change that part of my life.

Having a respectable character and a solid reputation is the way I want to be known. I want to be a light and a positive influence on people, helping them in their victories and in their defeats. This is how I want to be marked for the rest of my life.