Turkish get-ups & encouragement

“What are you doing?”

Why a cat with a barbell? Because it’s cuter than a photo of me doing a Turkish get-up, that’s why!

This morning at the gym, a woman asked me about a particular move. It’s called the Turkish get-up. Here’s what you do: rise from lying flat on the ground to a standing position in slow, precise moves.

Lying down . . .

Propped on one elbow . . .

Propped on one hand . . .

A high bridge . . .

A lunge . . .


. . .  all while holding a weight overhead, always keeping your arm perpendicular to the ground and your eyes focused on the weight above your head. Once upright, you reverse the moves until you’re lying down. That’s one rep. (Whew.)

It’s a great move to target coordination, balance, and all those lovely core muscles that don’t get enough work in our sedentary lifestyles. It’s also a move that makes me feel clumsy and off-kilter.

I explained to the woman what the move was. Then she wanted to copy me while I did the rest of my set, and we chatted a bit about what workout plan I use, all the usual things I’ve been asked at the gym many times before. Then the conversation took a turn.

“Well, let me pray for us.” And without further ado, she began praying: thanking God for being with us, for me, for our time together at the gym.

That hasn’t happened before. Not for me, not at the gym.

She went to a different machine. I did a different exercise. Then I walked over to her and thanked her again for praying. “That was really encouraging. I’ve been having a rough time recently . . .”

It’s not my usual depression that’s been pounding me. It’s anxiety.

I’ve been anxious about a particular situation, a controversy over school curriculum that I’m afraid will spin out of control, split a Christian community, and destroy relationships. After three church splits and a split in my childhood Christian school, I recognize the signs of fractured community all too well.

In addition, I’ve been anxious regarding a relationship with someone within this community. Confrontation could—and probably would—backfire on me and one of my children. Hell hath no fury like a woman whose child has been scorned, even if the scorn is only in her imagination. Again, I’ve seen this happen in Christian schools and seen the effects on children when their parents’ (particularly the mothers’) relationship is contentious. It can last for years. Literally.

That’s been the last two weeks: anxiety, sadness, fear. Crying spells. Difficulty breathing. Mind scattered. Body exhausted. Soul aching, mourning for my own brokenness and the brokenness of this world.

Everything is imbalanced. It’s like trying to do that Turkish get-up for the first time and wondering how I was supposed to do this, and this, and this, all at the same time. My leg goes where while my arm does what? Even after reading the directions and studying the photo sequence in my workout book, I almost gave up on learning this move. Then I did a Jillian Michaels video and she “talked” (ordered, really) me it. “Find the floor,” she barks, and my hand found the floor. “Pop up,” she orders, and I did. Oh, I thought, that’s how it works.

I remembered that video while I was talking the gym lady through it. (I didn’t bark, Jillian-style.) As I watched her figure this out, I remembered how it had felt to struggle with that sense of imbalance, the sense that my body didn’t know what it was doing.

My mind and soul have felt that imbalance these past two weeks. So when I told the gym lady that I’d had a rough time recently, I wasn’t lying; I needed encouragement.

A second unusual turn:

I can’t recall her exact words, but she said that she had sensed that us meeting at the gym was a divine appointment. “How old are your children?”

“Twelve and eight.”

We’re in a spiritual battle, she reminded me, and the enemy loves to destroy. But she sensed the Lord’s anointing on me while she was praying. Furthermore, she believed that I’m going to have a spiritual breakthrough this week. “You just watch, honey, you wait and see what God’s going to do.”

I hadn’t mentioned that this particular roughness had anything to do with my children or their school. But that’s what she mentioned immediately. On the one hand, it’s a safe bet that a thirty-something mom’s “rough time” might be related to her kids. On the other, there are a thousand other things that could give a thirty-something mom a rough time: marriage, work, health, stressful schedules.

I hugged her. We were both sweaty, and I didn’t care. Her words and prayer encouraged me. It helped restore balance to my perspective on the situations.

My perspective was so off-kilter that I was taking personal responsibility for the outcome of  both situations, as if I could determine the outcome. Really, I can’t do anything other than pray. God is in control. He does not need me to do his job.

Her brief prayer and words of encouragement helped me re-learn this truth. It was a bit like doing the Jillian video, following her directions, and actually practicing a Turkish get up; I’d read the directions, seen the photos, but I needed someone to talk me through that first get-up.

I’d heard this truth—God is in control—and tried to pray this truth, but I needed someone to encourage me through it. She talked me through it, if you will.

Just wanted to share.












20 thoughts on “Turkish get-ups & encouragement

  1. I love when people talk me through some rough move in my life, Laura. It’s not that I go looking for someone to do it, though. More like when it happens I can see what a blessing it has been. Like the woman at the gym, sometimes it’s out of the blue. Other times it’s a friend who knows me well and can see what I’m going through.

    I’m praying for you and how you are going to work through the brokenness you see around you. Or perhaps I should say I’m praying for the way God will work through you in this anxious time of brokenness. Here’s to resting in God’s peace while the storms rage.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing, Laura — so glad this woman obeyed the Spirit’s prompting to talk to you and encourage you at this time. What a blessing. Hoping for peace for you as the school situation unfolds.


  3. Anxiety can really be horrible when it gets its claws into you. I am glad this encounter gave you a bit of God perspective.

    The Turkish thingy reminded me of a Pilates move we tried last week. I couldn’t do it at all.


  4. A beautifully written post, Laura, and I hope & pray with all my heart that your anxiety lessens from these incredibly challenging-sounding situations. It’s amazing you had that encounter with the woman at the gym of all places – as a former certified personal trainer, I particularly loved your depiction of it.

    I also want to thank you for your kind comments about my decision not to attend Don’s memorial. It turns out that after I published that post, Craig sensed I blogged about it. (Of course!) He asked me straight out, and when I said yes, I immediately knew he wanted me to take it down but he didn’t “demand” it. He doesn’t care about the other topics I blog about and has never suggested I delete any other post, although, as I mentioned, he never reads them. But I was fine with doing that to respect his wishes.

    I got such wonderful feedback/support from you and the others so quickly – the post “did its job” – and I’m deeply grateful for everyone taking the time to write!

    Please take extra-good care of yourself.
    One last thing: I LOVE the photo of the cat you chose – it’s truly adorable.

    thinking of you,


    1. Thanks, Dyane. After some more (related) things happened yesterday, I’ve decided to pull out of a particular group. My mental health is being compromised and the meager benefits of being involved are heavily outweighed by the greater drawbacks. It’s in no way comparable to deciding not to attend Don’s funeral, of course, but this gave me a greater understanding of why you have chosen not to attend. Some things are triggers and some people are toxic.

      Isn’t that cat photo cute? I’ve never seen a cat doing Turkish getups, though. Hmm, I wonder if one could be trained. It’d make a great cat video!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m SO proud of you for doing that -I’m positive it was very difficult for you to remove yourself from the group but don’t you feel some relief? Your mental health is more important than anything and I know you’re completely aware of that! In those moments where you think about it and the “auto-thoughts” alarm you, tell yourself you made the right choice. Especially since you weren’t getting a whole ton of benefits, yes? I have no problem comparing it to Don’s memorial because to me both situations can actually cause very similar reactions, believe it or not. Weird, and doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. My extreme social anxiety with people who live in my area make that the case, if that makes any sense at all. I never see Don’s family as they live one to three hours away from me. Thank God. On a side note, my Mom texted me last night to remind me that she thought it wasn’t “appropriate” for my girls to attend Don’s service, especially since I wouldn’t be there as a comfort to them. I haven’t spoken to Craig about it yet…. I thought that the girls could decide on their own, but maybe that’s too much pressure for an 8 and 10 year old? They both have told me recently they think they want to go, but they weren’t 100% sure….do you mind my asking you about this since you also have young girls? (Don was cremated by the way so it’s not an open casket…..) Please do not feel pressured to answer this – I know it’s a weighted question!!!! On a much happier note,

        p.s. If a cat could do a Turkish getup that could be filmed, it would go viral!


      2. When my grandmother died, my kids were 4 and 8. They’d been relatively close to “Mimi” (as we called her) because she lived near us. They went to the funeral and graveside service for her, and seemed fine with all of it. It was an open casket and neither seemed really upset by seeing her body. Both my husband and I were with them, as were my parents, but I don’t know if that made a difference in their reaction. Every family is different. If (theoretically) you were to go, they would probably pick up on your emotions, especially if you were triggered; that would be really upsetting! If they’re okay with the other family members (or at least not triggered, as you would be, by those people) and your husband is there with them, I think they’d probably be okay. Maybe you could spend some special time with them later on that day or meet Craig and the girls halfway between the funeral place and your home, just to be there for them without being “there” around the toxic people. Just a thought. It’s a hard decision, I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you so, so much, Laura! Now the older one (10) is telling me she doesn’t want to go, and the younger one is undecided and I’m not pressuring them. Your idea is an excellent one too. I was very close to my grandmother. I think it’s so good/healthy that your daughters went to their grandmother’s service and weren’t upset by the open casket. Sorry this is so disjointed. I’m completely out of it. Maybe I need to start doing that Turkish move! Once again, deep thanks for taking the time to respond thoughtfully – it really has made me feel great during this icky time. I hope you’re doing as well as possible after making the decision you made yesterday about getting out of that group….I hope you feel relieved about it because you don’t need any extra stress in your life! You inspired me in making that choice and taking care of yourself. XO

        Liked by 1 person

  5. After six long weeks of reruns, the new season of Jeopardy! finally aired on Monday. One of the categories in the opening round was “So You Want To Write A Novel” and I thought to myself “Hey, I follow a blogger who is an aspiring novelist.”

    The five answers were mode/tone, conflict, catharsis, protagonist, and cliché.


  6. This was one of the daily doubles in the Double Jeopardy round, under the category of “You Said What?!”

    In a novel, Alice Walker wrote that it might anger God “if you walk by” this “in a field somewhere and didn’t notice it”

    I’m curious if you know the answer. No googling.


  7. The contestant correctly responded with “what is the color purple.” While I have never read the book or seen the film,I knew Alice Walker wrote that novel. I couldn’t put it together quickly enough to get the question right though, I think the field part threw me off. Perhaps you read the novel years ago and the author’s name rang a bell?


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