If it weren’t for the drops upon my window, I would have never known it had rained. The hummingbirds were humming; the sun busy shooing away clouds like they were ill-tempered children. Classical music played over my small kitchen radio, giving me a peaceful rhythm to both my soul and perceptions. I couldn’t help but dance just a little as I took the handle of my cup of tea.

As morning faded into the afternoon, I no longer saw the drops upon the window, and the sun appeared to have the day in full bloom.

All except the pink rosebush.

I stepped onto the back porch and noticed vibrant, rich green stems holding up tired petals. Had I not known of the earlier rain, I would have been sorely disappointed that this gorgeous bush appeared downhearted. After all, there was no obvious evidence from my current view as to why these roses were behaving so poorly.

Several days later I found myself back on the porch enjoying the gifts of spring. My eyes fell upon the roses, blooming once again. The rain had opened the petals to further growth, and they looked lovelier than I ever recall seeing. Their fragrant blooms filled my soul and perceptions with gentle peace.

I have thought of these happenings: the rain, clouds, stems, sun, and blooms.

Too often we look at people and perceive them according to information we don’t have. We hold a zoomed-in snapshot when Jesus holds an entire picture from roots to petals.

In seeing someone who is out of sorts, different, or having a bad day, we can easily paint them to be someone they aren’t. What we don’t know is that they might be holding themselves up, breath by breath, with all the strength and focus they can muster after a tiresome, sudden downpour or steady, unyielding rain.

Despite what evidence is seen or unseen, we have no idea how God is currently speaking into her storm; into what might be lost… including herself.

May we not step onto our porches of limited perspective and be critical of another’s blooms, or lack thereof. As you well know, it is only by God’s grace and strength that we have pushed through our worst storms.

The best we can do for others is to be a fragrant offering of Christ’s love and peace. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

May our loving kindness be so contagious that it helps others grow deeper in their relationship with Christ.

Wishing you a day of nourishment for your soul, gentleness in your words, and grace through your eyes.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.