My Sentimental Journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God

Thug Alley

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people on empty street between buildings

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Thug Alley was a game my husband played as a young boy with his brothers. Growing up as the youngest of 7 children they found endless ways to amuse themselves. Even though I had only one sibling, my older brother and I had our fair share of tomfoolery too, I just can’t imagine it seven fold!

As legend has it, one of Kevin’s brother’s, (usually Mark) would position himself at the end of the hallway, while Kevin was at the front. They were now ready for Thug Alley… as formidable opponents poised to wrestle; thanks to Mark being upon his knees to even out the playing field a smidgen. Kevin being the baby had something to prove to his older brothers and would come out with every intent to not get walloped

As the baby in my family, whenever I tried to prove myself in back to back challenge (in much milder forms) even with my brother Troy graciousness to me. It still typically didn’t fair as well for me, unlike the glorious victory laps in my mind eye.
Kevin’s Thug Alley even had a theme song to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Double Trouble”. Tussling it out to these creative lyrics: “I got double thugged, I got triple thugged, three times as much as I ever got thugged before. W-h-o-a, whoa!” Such drama leading up to the big smack down. This my friends is what you did when cell phones and video games where not yet invented .  Oh the good old days !

The infamous Thug Alley story came to mind the other day when I was wrestling UFC style full throttle in worry mode. In an all out battle to take this all to familiar foe to the mat and to keep him there until he cries uncle. I’m soooo done with ominous and catastrophic thinking that has plagued my thought life for so long. The proverbial waiting for the other shoe to drop while mentality positioning myself in a defensive or offensive mode to never be caught off guard.

No doubt as I look back this scrappy self preservation had its roots in the sexual abuse and other deep seated wounds I had encountered throughout my childhood. Causing seeds of doubt and lack of trust in God’s pure goodness toward me, to germinate and establish itself in the form of worry and anxiety.

Dialoguing with God I asked for help once again desiring to kick this thing, pinning it to the mat in submission and defeat! When God lovingly asked me this question, ” Lisa ,if you had a choice would you hand out in a dark alley or go to Disneyland?”
He had my attention and I was all ears of the Mickey Mouse persuasion.
Disneyland is my favorite place to go ever and having just come back from the Happiest Place on Earth, the sights, sounds and smells are still fresh in my mind. How magical! I’ll never tire of it!

No one has to love Disneyland as much as I do to say yes to the Magic Kingdom over a pitch black , sunless, closed in alleyway. You don’t have to like the churros, rides or even heaven forbid the adorable Mickey Mouse himself to choose peace and joy over fear and intrepidation that only God can offer.
God had brought before my eyes the stark contrast of light and darkness and the power of a choice. Moving forward, I have a powerful visual of how I will choose to think. Enjoying a Dole whip in the warm sunshine of tasting and seeing God is good… or digging in a rusty dumpster of fear in a dank alley.

When put in those terms it seems like a no brainer to me, yet it will still require work to train my mind in new ways of thinking. I have postured my thought in Thug Alley for so long, all the while the enemy of my soul has enjoyed every minute of it. For his nature is that of a thief and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy. His plan is merciless, pitiless and downright cruel. No comparison between the Thug Alley Kevin and his brothers played as children.

For all the times I wandered down wrong paths with skewed thinking, I am thankful to Jesus that I still found His Love protecting me, gently redirecting me to light, freedom and wide open spaces, in all His promises that are yes and amen.
“I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer. So – answer! bend your ear! listen sharp! Paint grace graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you.” Psalms 17 :6-7 The Message

Maybe your happy place is toes digging in warm sandy beaches as soothing sound of waves lap the shores, rather than the faint sound of screams as thrill seekers are dropped 13 stories for kicks and giggles. Wherever your happy place is it can only truly start with Jesus in your heart as your Savior and Lord. Only He can navigate you through the dark alley ways of your life with victory that is not just imagined but real, tangible and pulsing with an abundant life of peace, freedom, and joy.

Now with new tools under my belt when the enemy tries to take me down, I will straighten my crown and Mickey Mouse ears, looking him square in the eyes and say with confidence, “Devil no not today “* Then joyfully do my victory lap sipping a Dole whip float with it’s tiny umbrella accent. Go Team Jesus!


72481983_10212228504548018_3034547729251434496_n.jpg DISNEYLAND KEVIN AND I

Kevin and I in training for our Team Jesus victory lap!

” For the rest, brethren ,whatever is true ,whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly ,whatever is just,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think on and weigh and take account of these things fix your mind on them “.Philippians 4:8



“Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave His life for us, and even more than that, He has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could He possibly condemn us since He is continually praying for our triumph?” TPT Romans: 8:34

“Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love.” TPT Romans 8:35

*Not Today Hillsong United

Author: Lisa Thompson Jennings

Hello my name is Lisa,it would be so delightful to sit down with you swapping life's stories..Reveling in God's goodness,sharing our battles won and those we still are fighting. Finding sacred ground together in heartbreak, redemption , forgiven and blessed hope that promises not to disappoint us. A little about me ... I love God with all my heart stumbling along the way as I do , I talk a lot but still covet listening, Laughter and being creative are not options for my soul would wither with the lack of them. My husband Kevin and I have been married for 35 years and blessed with two grown sons, a lovely daughter in love and two precious grandchildren .While this earthen vessel laden cracked and flawed by God's intentional grace and renewed strength made it through some hardships. God's redemption shining through past misfortunes that included surviving sexual abuse, a failed first marriage, eating disorder, panic attacks, gripping fear and crushing low self esteem. Drawn to a God that can right wrongs, bring beauty where ashes once laid ,all the while lovingly speaking His worth and value into weary, parched souls. So that we can not only survive as victims but thrive as a people walking in glorious victory, blazing a trail of freedom for anyone held in chains of injustices, personal failure or loss. So thankful God is all about new beginnings, fresh starts and slates wiped clean.. our past misfortunes merely spring boards of new found hope and deep abounding joy ... it's a privilege to be a fellow sojourner in this path to greater wholeness and liberation. Charles Dickens writes "Reflect on your present blessings every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some". Celebrating present and future Heavenly blessings with you

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