But before that, it plain sucked.
I was in the car, close to being in tears, frustrated and upset about work. I felt like I had been trying so hard to do my job, do what is expected of me, be creative, go a little further. But I literally had a meeting where it was discussed that, while I have shown progress, it just isn't quite enough to merit any evaluation other than "potentially at risk."
It brought back memories of another time something similar had happened to me at another job, shortly after my son was born.
That time, a few years ago, I was consumed with my newborn son. Breastfeeding was a priority, and I was working both at home and at the office, trying to get everything done.
Then and now, in spite of my efforts, I fell short. I'm a perfectionist, so I wouldn't say "my best efforts;" in my mind there's always room for improvement. However, it is difficult to describe the feeling you get (unless you've felt it yourself), of having your efforts received with "your work is just not up to par."
In my mind that is usually code for "proceed to freak out."
But something different and amazing happened in the car, on my way home after work today.
As I compared the "then and now" sucky work situations, I was praying, pouring my heart out to God.
Lord, did you see that? I thought I had been producing decent work. Am I not seeing something? Where am I missing the mark?
And this is the part where tears came out.
I felt like God said yes. I see you. You HAVE been working hard. And you have been working for me, not for anyone else.
What touched my heart even more than my Heavenly Father's loving and reassuring hand on my shoulder, was the fact that the last time something like this had happened at another job, yes, there was a "valley low" time, but I had felt God had spoken to me back then as well, and major blessings followed.
Back then, God spoke to me through the story of Daniel. At a different, but equally trying time, I felt God spoke to me through Psalm 84:11 and later Matthew 7:11. Each time, I just kept praying. Frustrated, confused, but not giving up, I just kept praying.
And each time, faithfully, God has always come through. And when He comes through, you know it's in MAJOR ways!
The valleys are not necessarily fun, but sometimes they're necessary.
They're essential. They're preparation time. They're training camps.
And Lord, I wouldn't want to serve absolutely anyone else than You.
Following the path you have for me, your daughter,