how to read a love letter

A letter written by my great great grandmother to my great grandmother was put into my hands by my grandmother a couple years ago. It’s a letter written nearly a hundred years ago in Cuba. My son and I poured over it, translating it with fascination. We didn’t want to miss a single detail.

Details matter. Whether in our daily life or in a book we are reading, the details often make the greatest difference. When I am in a hurry I skim details and thus I fail to fully absorb what I see or read.

A lover in another country you haven’t seen in weeks sends a letter. The words on the page become sacred, poured over and easily memorized. We desire to know our lover with greater intimacy and affection.

Maybe it’s cliche to say that the Word of God is our Lover’s letter to us. But it’s true. He is speaking life-changing truth, grace and deep love over us through His Word. He has even filled believers with His Spirit so as to allow us to best internalize those words of love and be reminded of them often.

So when we approach it in our moments with Him, it matters for us to unpack it in such a way that we hang on the details, the words and the concepts. That is why the E in the TEND acronym I use stands for Examine the facts. (More about that here)

After I spend time getting still and become aware of His presence, I read through the passage I am unpacking that day in order to keep the context before me. Then I focus in on the verse I am tending into my soul.

When I plant seed in the garden, I don’t stand at the gate and toss it out freely. I intentionally bend down, make small holes in the dirt and plant one seed at a time. In the same way, I plant His Word bit by bit into my soul.

When I plant seed in the garden, I don’t stand at the gate and toss it out freely. I bend down, making holes in the dirt and planting one seed at a time. In the same way, I plant His Word bit by bit into my soul.

I write down the facts of what is happening, examining each fact as a jeweler would a diamond. I pin them each down, sometimes a verse holds several facts such as “Jesus said,” “Jesus breathed on them,” “He said for them to receive the Holy Spirit.” Those are the facts I wrote from John 20:22 just this morning.

Prayerfully looking at the facts slows me down and aligns my spirit to His so I might best hear what He is teaching me about Himself in this passage.

Prayerfully looking at the facts slows me down and aligns my spirit to His so I might hear what He is teaching me about Himself.

As the lover’s letter is revealing the character and love of the author, so is His Word revealing His character and love for me, so why would I want to miss that?


Drop your email below for your guide to help tend Psalm 23 into your soul today. Anchoring our soul to His Word is where we find the peace and strength for each new day as we get to know the Lover of our soul with greater intimacy.

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