Saved by the Son

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A Guest Post By: Leslie Manlapig 

This past September, as students marched back to school, I didn’t.  This was the first time in 27 years, that I wasn’t a full-time student.

Hi.  My name is Leslie and I’m a dropout.

(Gosh, that word stands out so starkly on the screen.)


I dedicated a decade of my life pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology.  I began the journey because I wanted to improve the educational opportunities for children from low-income backgrounds.  I believed in education’s power to change their lives.  I also believed that this degree would equip me to do my part in God’s great plan to redeem the world.

In the beginning of my studies I progressed along nicely.  But after a couple of years feelings of sadness and discontent stirred inside.  Something felt off.   My program didn’t seem like a good fit anymore.  Piece by piece my world began crumbling.  I cried out to God but couldn’t hear His voice anymore.  I felt like a disappointment to everyone around me.  I was incredibly sad and lost.

Then, in the midst of all my questioning and sadness I found out that I was pregnant.  While I had so few dreams for myself, I had so many dreams for my son.  I wanted him to experience God’s love.  I wanted him to be hard working, humble, brave, and kind.  I looked forward to seeing the ways that he could be God’s hands and heart in the world.

Though I was excited to be a mother, I was also terrified.  I already felt like a failure in life.  I worried about failing in motherhood too.  How could I help him to be all of those wonderful things if I was so trapped and scared?


When our son was a couple of months old, he began having some health problems.  Worn out and exhausted from caring for him, I was stretched too thin.  Maybe there was something about being so tired that pushed me to finally see the truth.  I was tired of living my life in fear and darkness.  I finally broke: I had to quit my program.

It’s now been four months since I quit my program. Life is still confusing and mixed up.  I’m still searching for the ways that God can use me to be His hands and heart in this world.  But things are slowly looking a lot better.  Once more I’m beginning to hear God’s voice in my heart.  Once again, I’m beginning to dream dreams.

Last weekend our family put up the Christmas tree and sparkly lights.  This weekend we sang carols and heard the story of Jesus’s birth.  It’s funny, even though I’ve been Christian for about fifteen years now, I feel like I’m meeting Jesus for the first time.

It’s amazing to remember God’s story for salvation.  He loved us so much that He left heaven and came to earth.  To bring us out of darkness and hopelessness he took on the form of a little, helpless baby.  When I look at my son, this redemption story becomes so much more meaningful to me.  For you see, fifteen months ago the birth of my son, my baby, rescued me from a dark and hopeless place.


Leslie is a wife, mommy, PhD dropout, crafter, wannabe children’s book author, and lover of Jesus.  You can read more about her life, thoughts, and crafting adventures on her blog:   Pink Stripey Socks . You can follow Leslie and her creativity on Pinterest too! 

(Leslie is my dear friend and writing buddy. Our lives only brushed past one another for a short time, but it was enough to know we would be lifelong friends. I can’t recommend her work, her humor, or her big heart enough!)


4 thoughts on “Saved by the Son

  1. Thank you for your touching story. Your son is beautiful! When my son was born almost five years ago, I was one class short of my Bachelor’s degree which I had been working on for close to 20 years. I was also living in NYC away from any family to help me, and my husband was deployed in Iraq. I was working a demanding job, that was already unhappy with me as I was “no longer available 24/7”, as they no-so-delicately put it. I was a mess. I paid for, and failed, the last class three semesters in a row. Now, as I look back at it, I was destined to fail. It was just all too much. And it was such a relief when I gave myself permission to stop taking that class! But a year ago, my situation had changed drastically. My husband was back home. We moved from NYC back to Omaha to be near family. I no longer had a job where I had to work 24/7, I leave at 5:00 PM. And the intense behavioral issues we had been having with my son had greatly improved. And a little voice in the back of my head said, now you can do it. And I did. I finished that class, and got by Bachelor’s degree after starting it 22 years ago. I guess I tell you this to say, perhaps you don’t have to think of yourself as a drop out. God’s plan for you is still in motion, and even if you don’t have that “degree” I am sure that you are able to use the skills and ideas you gained. And, perhaps, in a few years, after you have taken a break from academia, and your son is older, you may feel differently. But I applaud your decision to live fully in the present with your son and family. I am sure you won’t regret it.

  2. Lisa- Thanks for letting me share my story here. It’s a wonderful safe space.

    Cindi- Thank you for sharing your story with me. (And congratulations for finishing! You go, girl!) And thanks for that reminder… God’s plan is still in motion… it’s hard to believe… but it’s true… 🙂

  3. Pingback: Be Still: Leslie Manlapig « about proximity

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