It’s so easy to stress when we are being buffeted on every side by winds that threaten to tear down everything in our lives. Sometimes those winds do tear down some things, and we are left to pick up the pieces of broken dreams, and of broken ideals. Eventually though we rebuild and things begin to look as if nothing ever happened, until another harsh wind blows. Unfortunately, bad weather is a part of the earth, as are troubled times in our lives. The question is not whether things will happen, but it is instead what we do after the trouble. One thing I have had to realize is that trouble is sometimes necessary to produce something great in us. If we are allowed to be comfortable, and we do not experience anything that shakes up all that has settled in our lives, then no one benefits because all the great things in us cannot be seen. We can be likened to italian dressing. When the dressing is allowed to settle there is a distinction between the oil and the rest of the ingredients. To get the best taste it is advised that the dressing is shaken before using. Without being shaken first, the dressing may taste more like oil than anything else-not really a good taste. Without some things first being shaken out of our lives, we may not be as useful. We will have things that have settled in us that do not add to the special blend that makes us unique and necessary to the world. While they never feel good, storms build endurance. After each storm we learn to build up stronger in places that were easily knocked down. We fortify our foundations-discovering just who we are and what we are supposed to do. Our strength is built by discovering our weaknesses, and allowing the storms/struggles to build up our defenses making them stronger. When we see people who are seemingly strong and confident, it is usually because they have had to deal with tough times, pain, struggle, etc, to build their strength. If you are going through a tough time, know that it is because you are strong enough to handle it. You will be even stronger after it. So stand. Allow your strength to be built. The winds do not blow all the time. Eventually the sun will come out again.