Divorcing the Truth from the Lies: Speaking Plainly about Pain and Loss

Victor & Angela Chininin Buele

There is no winner in a divorce.  It does not matter if you walk away feeling victorious or relieved.  It does not matter if you profited from the legal division of assets.  It does not matter if you say it was an amicable arrangement. Something went wrong. The promise of the marriage was broken.  Faithfulness was betrayed.  It does not matter what kind of self-justifying arguments may prop up one’s own banner. There will be regret, disappointment, and/or sadness when what was hoped for on the wedding day is given up as a lost cause. There is much to grieve.  There will be loneliness.  And divorce is ultimately impossibly hard to walk through alone because the union is not really over.  It is shattered.  But it is not over.  Birthday parties, weekend plans, graduation parties, monthly bills will bring back memories and also will necessitate interaction with the former spouse for as long as they both shall live.

You actually don’t even have to divorce someone to know the pain of a broken marriage.  When parents divorce, the children mourn the loss of the bond they once witnessed.  They miss the love between the people who love them most tenderly.  Because the nature of divorce is division, this tends to put great pressure (real or perceived) on children to split their previously fused paternal affections into two separate portions.  This is both exhausting and discouraging for kids.  We personally know this battle as our families have been affected by divorce.  This profound impact still has consequences for us today.

Similar to the power of the bond of marriage, the life of an unborn baby naturally brings about a new course of action for both the child and the parents.  There are very real physical, emotional, and social changes brought about by the tiny individual that is bonded so intimately with his or her mother from the very beginning.  Once a new life has begun, any action taken to end this marvelous bond, would result a separation much like the one caused by divorce.  Rejection and loneliness.  Tears.  You may never talk about it again, and you may use busyness and a thousand things to quiet your conscience, but you will always know.

Key Question: Is it possible to undo a mistake?

Unshakable Truth/The Real Choice: “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b).

There is a real choice set before you.  Will you choose to remain lonely?  Whether divorce or abortion have torn you apart, there is one way to be able to say with confidence that you are not alone.  And that choice has its root in this beautiful promise made by the LORD God to Joshua as he was taking over the leadership of the people of God.  “Just as I was with Moses,” said the LORD to Joshua, “so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forsake you.”  And He commands this man to be strong and courageous because choosing to be with God requires great trust in His power and love, in His faithfulness to keep His promises.  In God there is real forgiveness and restoration.  In Him, you will not be alone.  Will you choose the way that will lead to further loneliness, or will you turn to God?  We mourn for you.  We mourn with you.  We care for you.  We want you to experience restoration, forgiveness, and true peace (Romans 5:1-5).  Come and welcome to Jesus Christ! as one of the puritans once said.

When the “Choice” Is Made For You: How I Narrowly Avoided a Forced Abortion

Angela Chininin Buele

We take for granted that our choice is determined by our voice.  We order food at a restaurant, pledge vows during our wedding ceremonies, and explain to family members how we would like to be memorialized upon our deaths.  These are spoken decisions, and there is no argument expected in response.  So, in what is presented as the “right of choice,” it is quite perplexing that a woman who desires to choose life for her baby can face argument, insult, and deceit in the attempt to sway her toward abortion.  Unbelievable?  Well, if it hadn’t happened to me, I might not have believed it either.

My husband and I were expecting our first child, and I started spotting at around 4 weeks.  I sought prenatal care, and the bleeding stopped.  After several weeks, we began to expect that everything would be OK.  But then my water broke at 16 weeks, and we cried out to the Lord to spare our baby.  All around us, friends and family offered prayers and hugs as we waited and trusted.  But the response we received from some medical personnel was surprising.  When I called my OB’s office to advise the doctor of our situation, I was attended by another staff doctor.  Please understand the questions I asked came from my deep desire to protect my child.  And this is not the kind of thing you expect to happen.  Knowing I was not a doctor,  I asked in hope if I might drink more water to replenish the amniotic fluid.  The doctor directly instructed me not to try to do anything out of my usual habits to save the baby because, she said, “It’s going to die.”  There was no compassion.

After that initial call, my husband drove me to the emergency room where we were told that there were risks involved and no positive outcome expected from waiting to see if the amniotic sac would reseal and allow the baby to keep growing.  The doctors advised “induction.”  I insisted that our goal was to keep the baby in my womb as long as possible for his/her benefit.  They regrouped and hit us again with the bleak prognosis of carrying a baby that would almost certainly be terribly deformed.  Again they used the term induction instead of abortion.  I was quite upset by that.  Induction is the welcoming of a baby into open arms, expecting to nurture him or her to the point of thriving.  What they wanted to convince my husband and me to do was quite the contrary.  The aim of their “induction” was to make sure this baby died so we could try to have a “healthy” baby next time.  While feelings are not to be relied upon as indicators of truth, we did feel as if our presence was causing them delays, almost as if the space was needed for something else.  Quite upset by their disregard and deception in the face of our choice to pray for a miracle, we went home.  And waited.  Three days later, our son was born.  Within moments, he died cradled in our tender embrace.  We desperately wanted – and still long – to know our little boy, but we must wait a little longer for that precious reunion.  He was not killed.  He was born alive.  And there is a birth certificate of a live birth from the State of Missouri to testify to that.

I am so thankful that women can use the free services of crisis pregnancy centers to have their questions answered honestly by someone who wants to see both woman and child protected.  What is amazing to me is that, even if a woman tells the crisis pregnancy center staff that she has decided to have an abortion, they pray for her.  There is no false premise, only the wholehearted promise to be there with her through pregnancy and into parenting or adoption.  Even if she has had an abortion, they offer counseling for the pain endured during and after that time.  That is true care.  No matter what.

Key Question: Are pro-life advocates angry at pro-choice advocates?  Do they see pro-choice advocates as enemies?

Unshakable Truth: “David therefore sought God on behalf of the child.  And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground….And David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’  They said, ‘He is dead.’ Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes.  And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.”  2 Samuel 12:16,19b-20a

David’s plea is passionate, but he knows when and how to mourn, which does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that David’s struggle with his circumstances and his Lord are over.

The Real Choice:  Is your ultimate goal to see laws changed or to see lives changed?

This Might Shock You. I Used to be Pro-Abortion.

Angela Chininin Buele

Most people don’t know that I used to be pro-abortion.  Actually, I was more than politically in favor of abortion; I could have been the poster child for what seems to be “right” about the movement.  You see, I was raped and scared that I might be pregnant.  So I found myself desperate to undo what had been done to me without anyone knowing.  Because I knew that a pregnant woman whose abdomen sustained trauma could miscarry, I decided to punch myself in the stomach in order to make sure I would never suffer the humiliation or shame and blame on the outside that was already quite familiar within me.

How, you might ask, can I now stand against abortion, when I clearly know what it is like to feel the need for relief from such a frightful situation?  I have to say that it’s quite simple and a little complicated at the same time.  The truth is that I was driven completely by fear of what others would say.  I didn’t think about gathering medical facts or imagine what life might be like with a child.  I didn’t get feedback from family and friends or call a help line for a confidential listening ear.  I didn’t stake my claim and charge toward it.  I had a knee-jerk reaction that I hoped would make my life all OK.  After all, it seemed to be an unspoken protocol: “You are going to be in SO MUCH TROUBLE if anyone finds out.”  I was sure I would lose everything if my dirty little secret got out, so I decided that my choice was whatever would make me feel safe in the opinion of others.

In light of that framework for decision-making, I wonder if there are others like me out there who would like to be a whistle-blower to the “choice” women are told is theirs in seeking abortion.  I know I was knocking on that door, not because I didn’t want a baby to ruin my life, but because I was sure that most people would lay eyes on us both and scorn me as a failure for having let myself get there.  Am I the only one who wants to know: “Where is the empowerment in that one-way street?”

I suppose that’s the long and short of it.  I wanted people to like me, and I had learned enough to know people didn’t like people like me having babies.  But, in all fairness, the complicated side of the story is in the medical ignorance under that cloak of social approval.  I was ignorant of the timeline of human development, so I don’t know if my self-preservation would indeed have prevailed over the biological facts, had I been aware of them.  I believe it’s best not to speculate about that point and instead suffice it to say that someone with such high levels of anxiety and such low levels of information as I had, is neither prepared nor empowered to do much of anything to bring peace through secrecy.

Pro-abortion and pro-choice must not be considered synonyms.  What we call pro-choice today really is not about offering real choices at all.  Let me explain.  I was a 10-year-old girl who thought she was pregnant, even though I hadn’t been raped since I was 5.  Yet, somehow, without any direct coaching, I believed I knew how to self-abort, without knowing anything about any other choices or resources.  Or the fact that I couldn’t even be pregnant given that time lapse.  This is why calling the culture of abortion “pro-choice” is not fitting.  Abortion gives women one choiceLife gives women multiple choices.  Parenting, closed adoption, and open adoption are the first three that come to mind.  Gratitude, challenge, and love are three more choices that can fill a heart.  No curette or suction tube ever did anything except leave a woman empty.   Is that really the choice that is best for women?  Emptiness?  I should think not.  This is why being pro-life is the only place a woman can be empowered to see the victory at the finish line.

Key Question: Don’t women who have been victims of a crime deserve to have freedom from carrying a child conceived from rape?

Unshakable Truth: “…for God sent me before you to preserve life.”  Genesis 45:5b

Joseph was left for dead, sold as a slave, then falsely accused of rape, and imprisoned falsely for years.   In the end, he saw that God brought about the rescue of people through that chain of events, and he didn’t begrudge his attacker-brothers or God Himself for his suffering.  He was glad to see good result from his suffering.

The Real Choice: Am I eager to bless others or only myself?