The Origin and Vision
Updated: May 29, 2022
Read about the beginning stages and vision of non-profit organization, Brightening Dark Spaces.
Welcome to Brightening Dark Spaces. This is a space of advocacy and change in the child welfare system.
The Seeds Planted
As the older sister of two former foster children, I developed a huge heart for the child welfare system and all those involved. Each week, my family and I would attend my sisters' visitations with their biological family, spending time in the Brazos County Child Protective Services office visitation rooms. Seeing the condition of these rooms (bad atmosphere, dark, gloomy, and in need of new books and toys), I aimed to change the atmosphere. I began to realize that atmosphere matters, especially for traumatized children. Atmosphere is what we see; it’s what surrounds us. Often, atmosphere dictates our experiences in spaces and the memories left behind us. Additionally, atmosphere can create feelings, either positive or negative. My longing was for each child in the child welfare system to be in spaces where they feel loved, safe, and comfortable. Each child is more precious, unique, and more loved by God than we can imagine, and it is a privilege to create spaces where love surrounds them.
Prior to their journey in the system, children in the child welfare system experience trauma, abuse (either physical, emotional, or sexual) neglect, domestic violence, unstable families and parental units, insecurity, fear, and separation. These children suffer enough trauma without having to spend some of their most traumatic and challenging moments in dark spaces. Visitation spaces already hold many unsettling hours for hundreds of children in the child welfare system. Brightening Dark Spaces' role is to transform their experiences. As Christ-followers, we are called to follow Christ. Christ was the LIGHT in the DARKNESS. He turns “the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.” He is “the light (that) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it.” He says, “I am the light of the world.” “He uncovers the deeps of the darkness and brings deep darkness to light.” When we look at Jesus’s role and begin to emulate it in our world today, we must bring light.
“Every space where the presence of God is, is subject to change.” -Amanda Buenger
When beginning the refurbishment project at the Brazos County Child Protective Services office visitation rooms, I prayed that God would put a pull on hearts to give out of the generosity of His own. Raising funds was my first step to change. In about a week of fundraising, I raised abundantly more than I had set out to raise. This was truly a testimony of the community's generosity and God's heart for the child welfare system. God promises in Ephesians 3:20 that He will do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." We should live in great expectation that God will multiply our visions for His glory.
The Vision Becoming Reality
After raising the funds, I started dreaming and forming my vision for what the visitation rooms would soon look like, how I could make the most of the spaces, make them manageable for the CPS caseworkers to maintain, and of course, create a space where foster children would feel loved when being there. I began purchasing paint, rugs, furniture, toys, decor, and simple pieces that would brighten these spaces. The refurbishment day came when the vision became reality. It took just a few days for our team to change the atmosphere, and we certainly left at the end with the rooms transformed.
Your Opportunity Now
Brightening Dark Spaces wants to create opportunities for others to emulate Jesus, bring light, advocate for change, bless the child welfare system, and change atmospheres. We want to empower you to do the same Brightening Dark Spaces project in your county's Child Protective Services office visitation rooms. We believe that God will multiply your time, efforts, and visions, and do immeasurably more than you can ask, think, or imagine. We pray that Brightening Dark Spaces would give opportunities for leaders and advocates to rise up, using their gifts and talents to build the Kingdom.
We are called to be ADVOCATES for CHANGE.
Your Opportunity Now
I love the song "Build Your Kingdom Here" by Rend Collective because it summarizes our calling on this side of eternity.
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
And we pray revive
Come join me in this revival. Come join me in being Christ's longing for the church. Come join me in building the Kingdom. Come join me in making change in the child welfare system.