Beauty for Ashes

On Valentine’s Day of 1880, Theodore Roosevelt announced his engagement to Alice Lee. He wrote in his diary: “I can scarcely realize that I can hold her in my arms and kiss her and caress her and love her as much as I choose.”  About his marriage, he would later journal: “three years of happiness greater and more unalloyed than I have ever known fall to the lot of others.”


In 1884, the couple’s love came into full bloom. Roosevelt was a 26-year-old New York assemblyman when Alice become pregnant with their first child. The father-to-be was in Albany, attending an assembly debate, when Alice gave birth to their beautiful daughter. Prospects for the future seemed so bright for the young family.


Teddy was still away when he received word from his sister that he needed to return to his mother’s house, where his wife, mother of their newborn baby, was extremely ill. It took him five hours, traveling by train, through the night, to make it back to Manhattan. He finally arrived home.


His brother met him at the door, saying, “There is a curse on this house. Mother is dying and Alice is dying too!” In the middle the night, Theodore Roosevelt’s mother passed away from typhoid fever. Twelve hours later, his beloved wife died of kidney failure. It was Valentine’s Day, 1884. In his diary, Roosevelt wrote: “The light has gone out of my life.”


Gripped by sorrow, “TR” did not run for reelection to the New York Assembly. Instead, during his darkest days, he traveled west to the Dakota Badlands. Still grieving, he started riding herd on cattle he had purchased during a previous trip. The beauty and solitude of the West, along with the rugged adventures of being a cowboy, helped turn his grief into hope.


About the Badlands, Roosevelt wrote, “It was here that the romance of my life began.”


With renewed vigor, the future president traveled back to New York. There, he married his childhood neighbor and sweetheart, Edith Carow, on December 2, 1886. They raised five beautiful children. God had given Theodore Roosevelt “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). Jesus will do the same for you.


If “the light has gone out of your life” as it did for Roosevelt, trust Jesus to illumine your soul. He said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).



keep calm

Keep Calm

Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster created by the British government to inspire their people before World War II. The placard was intended to encourage the panicked English population during the threat of Nazi air raids. The crown pictured on the top of the poster was meant to give the impression of an

Read More
red light bulb

Inspired in a Dark Place

Austin Miles was an amateur photographer. He discovered he could read his Bible in the red lighting of a darkroom. He would often peruse Scripture while he waited for his pictures to develop. On March 1912, while awaiting the photo developing process to finish, Miles picked up his Bible. It fell open to John 20.

Read More


Demonization (Part 2) Mark 5:11-20 This is the second blog in my series on “Demonization” from Mark 5. Last month’s post covered verses 1-10 from the same chapter. This month’s blog is from verses 11-20. Here, we see three significant “departures” on the same date in Jesus’ encounter with this demoniac who was possessed by

Read More