One of our favorite things to do at the shelter is paint. Every Saturday we create a painting of something new. We love to use a variety of colors and have fun mixing and creating new hues. All of the colors are useful and helpful, including black. Although we have learned to be careful when using black. Darker colors can be used to create depth and outline the most valuable part of the art piece but they can can also cover all other colors.  When dealing with wet paint, dark colors easily overpower the light ones and can dominate the creation. For those who dwell on this perspective it makes it hard to believe that light is more powerful than darkness or that only light can drive out darkness.
blue green and red abstract illustration
When the children arrive at the shelter, they are enveloped in darkness and fear and struggle to trust anyone. They do not always take hold of the light right away. It is different and they fear that their truth in the light will expose them to harsh judgements. Light doesn’t appear to them to have much strength compared to fear and darkness.
As the children stay at the shelter and their “paint dries” the darkness loses it’s control. The children begin to realize that they can create newness by accepting that the darkness does not define them but can be used to deepen their true colors. Each time they choose to use the light, that darkness fades and loses it’s ground. We couldn’t help but laugh when one of the girls asked why no one in the shelter said bad words, admitting that she missed using bad words. Fast forward a month in the shelter, this same girl overheard a substitute guard using a bad word and in complete concern, ran to find a house parent to explain to the guard that we don’t use those words here.
abstract attractive backdrop background
                                       Photo by Sharon McCutcheon
We have had children in the shelter for four months now. They left a state of darkness where abuse was constant and came in multiple forms, to the shelter where the light shines in abundance! The staff serve day in and day out with love and patience and encouragement. We all recognize that God’s light is the key to holistic healing! We have loved watching the girls grow: emotionally, academically, spiritually and in physical health.  The most exciting part is that this is only the beginning of the best part of their lives!
We are well aware that many who have been painted with darkness never get the opportunity to let their paint dry. Those individuals who abuse and sell children were not born evil. They have been painted with a blackness that they believe defines them. They loose the sense of humanity and spread that darkness. The only way for them to recognize the truth and desire to change is for them to be surrounded by light. We pray for the abusers, just as we pray for the abused. Never do we excuse their actions, actually We jump for joy when a perpetrator is arrested. Justice is a vital element that brings hope for both the abused and the abuser.
The law here in the Philippines declares that any adult who sexually abuses a minor younger than 13 years of age serves for life in prison. We are grateful for this law and for those who implement it! It allows the survivor to focus on healing and the perpetrator to focus on finding hope in the life beyond this one. No darkness is eternal, unless chosen in the light of truth.
Colors of light

White light is the purest light, even temporarily speaking. White light refers to all of the colors of light combined. Colors of light are known as additive colors because they do not overpower colors, but combine with them. In our imperfectness we all have brightness that shines and when we come together, we create white light. That light is equal to God’s love. It consists of so many aspects that make it the most powerful force in existence. It’s a light of healing, a light of eternal truths, a light of guidance and a light of hope. White light cannot be created alone. It is an effort of all colors of light. Now is the time to shine. We are being called to stand up, come forward and shine in all our brightness so that the light of God is undoubtably recognized in all the dark corners of this world. Let us shine our light for those who have endured darkness to know that there is a Savior and his grace is enough to heal our deepest wounds.