“Mummy, what does the Devil look like?”

“Mummy, what does the devil sound like?”

“He is the one who tells you to hit your brother sweetheart!…” (He is also the little voice in your teenage years that tells you, ‘you are ugly, you are stupid, you are fat, you are worthless’. He is the one who tells you to throw up, to start cutting, and then he will make you feel so guilty about it that you won’t be able to tell anyone or ask for help. He will convince you that life is hopeless, and empty, and not worth living. But I won’t tell you this now, because you are only 4 years old.)

“Mummy, what does the devil smell like?”

“He smells of rotten eggs, my sweet little sugar-plum!…” (He also smells like the sweet smell of career success. The sweet smell of that wage you need to be earning to have any dignity as a young woman. He certainly does not smell of dirty nappies, or home cooked food, or sweet baby smell. He will tell you that this is the smell of failure and that staying at home with your children is a total waste of your life and your talents. He will even make you question if this is the right time in your life to be having this baby? He stinks honey, but I won’t tell you this now, because you are only 4 years old.)

“Mummy, what does the devil look like?”

“He is just an ugly skinny red man with pointy horns and hooves honey!…” (He also looks like that dream house, that dream car, that dream holiday. If you could just get this one thing… then you will be happy and fulfilled. Work those extra hours every week. Take out that extra loan. Your kids will not be happy in life unless they have that new phone. Take no notice of the extra pressure it is putting you all under. The thing is, he also looks like the little 4-year-old working in the Bangladeshi sweatshop, making all those clothes you got at such a bargain price. But I won’t tell you this now, because you too, are only 4 years old.)

“Mummy, what does the devil taste like?”

“He tastes bitter and sour like un-ripened lemons my little dumpling!…” (He will also taste like the lips of the sweetest, sexiest, kindest, gentleman who will become your friend during a bad patch in your marriage. You will find yourself texting him, making excuses to bump into him at work, going for lunch with him (“it’s just lunch…”) and eventually falling in love with him. Your heart will be bursting and breaking at the same time. You will hide all this from your husband, and then face the agonising decision of what you are going to do. But I won’t tell you this now, because you’re only 4 years old.)

“Mummy, what does the devil feel like?”

“He feels rough, sharp and thorny my sweet baby!…” (He also feels like social acceptance. That safe, shallow fakery of political correctness. He will make you feel unable to stand up and speak out on big issues such as gay marriage, abortion, contraception, divorce and the aggressiveness of the media in the destruction of the family. He will make you feel small, ineffective, unpopular, lonely and afraid.  He will make you feel like it is all in your imagination because the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, is to pretend he doesn’t exist. But I won’t tell you this now because you are only 4 years old.)

“You don’t need to worry about him, my lovely little girl. Jesus has already won the battle. Wherever there is love and peace, there is God…”

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