The Old Maid

Halloween is right around the corner. That time of year when a drive around the neighborhood sends chills down your spine. It seems like the appropriate time to devote a blog to someone else who used to send chills down my spine.  His name starts with a “D” and ends with “evil”. I usually don’t like to give him a great deal of press, he’s not worth it. But it is wise, once in a while, to remind ourselves of his presence and the importance of being aware of just how he works.

I’ve always had a very stereotypical image in my mind whenever I heard the word devil. But not anymore, thanks to a dream I had the other night.  He showed up as an old lady in a red nightgown with glasses and a big gray bouffant hairdo, like the Old Maid in that classic children’s card game.

In my dream I knew it was the devil. She was trying to scare me, so I picked her up and stuffed her into a trash chute. You know, the kind that you often find in apartment buildings. Then I woke up.

I pondered what the Old Maid disguise was all about. How odd to see the devil as a cute old grandma. Then, it hit me. It illustrated what the devil’s most powerful and evil trick is. Deception.

Most often, that deception comes when we allow ourselves to be tempted down the path of wild imaginings.

We imagine someone thinks badly of us. We imagine something bad is going to happen to us or to someone we love. We imagine the test result will be malignant. We imagine our spouse has been unfaithful. We imagine our co-workers are talking about us behind our back. We imagine everyone else is smarter, happier, more capable, more interesting, more productive, and just plain more, than we are.

Before we know it, these imaginings become our truth. We’ve let the Old Maid move in when we should have stuffed her in the trash chute. How helpless and vulnerable we can feel when we let ourselves be fooled. How much unnecessary fear, sadness, and anger we can rouse in ourselves and others when we believe what isn’t the truth. When we believe our wild imaginings.

It’s at those times that we have lost sight of God’s truth. We need to refocus on the One who can show us the truth. The One who wants nothing more than to replace our wild imaginings with the truth. That clarity brings us the peace that we long for and a powerful reminder that God is always there to bring us back.

So, on those days when it feels like the Old Maid is gaining control of your thoughts, don’t be tricked into entertaining the old lady, just throw her and her lies down the chute.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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