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!)