Dancing Upon Barren Land
New Book Offers Prayers, Scripture Reflections and Hope for Infertility
It is estimated that one in six American couples (7.3 million women) are affected by infertility. Christian women are no more immune to these astounding statistics than anyone else. When experiencing infertility, a woman’s feelings about herself, her relationships with others and her belief in God become confused and complicated. Having experienced these emotions herself, Lesli A. Westfall has written Dancing Upon Barren Land: Prayer, Scripture Reflections, and Hope for Infertility (January 18, 2013 / ISBN: 9780615746128 / $12.99) not only as a prayer guide for women facing infertility, but as a resource for churches and support groups.
Much like many couples today, Westfall and her husband put a family on hold for their careers and to build a savings. In fact, this approach has become so prevalent in today’s society that within the fertility world it has been given the official terminology as “delayed parenting.” By the time Westfall felt God nudging her to start a family, it was too late—a number of factors, including age, kept her from carrying a child of her own. “I went through the range of emotions one goes through in trying to get pregnant. I felt angry at God, jealous of others who were expecting, disappointed every month and essentially left with a broken heart,” she confesses.
As Westfall went through this difficult season, she would journal, writing out her feelings and frustrations as she prayed to God for His help. When Westfall reflected upon what she had written, she clearly saw God and His faithfulness every step of the way. She realized God was turning her disappointments into appointments with Him, leading to the creation of the Dancing Upon Barren Land ministry and eventually the new book by the same name.
“Dancing upon barren land means to enjoy life now, to live life while you wait for life in your womb or to hold your adopted baby in your arms,” explains Westfall. “You can learn to ‘dance’ by discovering who you are in Christ, enjoying the relationships around you, and exploring your passions and pursuing them along the journey to parenthood.”
Having led infertility support groups, Westfall felt the need for a resource to help women and couples who were facing some of the same trials she had, encouraging them never to give up on praying for their desires, as well as for peace of mind, understanding their emotions, maintaining relationships and facing their fertility options. Dancing Upon Barren Land, the fruit of her labors, is a helpful companion and resource for those dark, lonely days. Readers will discover:
· Specific prayer topics and supporting scripture
· Helpful truths to living life while you wait
· Support ideas for family members or friends
· Resource aids for ministry leaders
· Discussion topics for support groups
In addition to the book and ministry website, Westfall has produced a video to create a greater awareness of the grief and pain associated with infertility and infant loss. She enlisted eight people to share their stories about the journey through infertility, including one man who shares his heart for wanting to be a father. The video can be viewed online via YouTube as well as the Dancing Upon Barren Land website. Westfall hopes the video will reach churches and encourage them to form support groups for their members.
“Given the statistics, there is a high probability someone is hurting within their congregation, whether from infertility or infant loss (miscarriages/stillbirth). For women, there is a loss that is silent and secret. The loss can be from a desire yet to be fulfilled or loss experienced through miscarriage or failed adoption attempts. The social interactions often decline due to the feeling of not fitting in,” she explains. “Very few churches offer support groups to help women/couples through the complicated grief via Biblical principles, provide a safe haven to connect with others and acknowledge there is help and hope for the hurting. The Dancing Upon Barren Land book is a resource support groups can use and ministry website is available to help churches find out how to start a group of their own.”
About the Author
Lesli Westfall is no stranger to infertility. She has experienced the range of emotions, the prodding of doctors and the stinging disappointments. She’s been left wandering on the barren road and wondering what God has planned for her. Yet looking back on her journey, Westfall realizes God turns disappointments into appointments, the most significant being the call to offer hope and inspiration to other women facing infertility.
While leading a Christian infertility support group in one of the largest churches in America, a deep compassion formed within Westfall’s heart. Based upon her own experience as well as others in the group, the online ministry Dancing Upon Barren Land was created, offering spiritual nourishment for the infertility road. She now ministers to women around the world through the website and leads support groups at other local congregations.
Westfall loves spending time with her family, friends and especially her husband, Larry, whom she refers to as her man of faith and live-in comedian. She also enjoys teaching cooking and etiquette to children and traveling, especially road trips. Most of all, her passion is sharing God’s love and teaching His Word to women, inspiring belief there’s healing for the grief of infertility and sorrow from loss—and there is joy in the journey while we wait.
Prior to writing Dancing Upon Barren Land, Westfall contributed to the book Moments of Grace, a book about finding God’s grace while searching for answers.