I've heard it said that, "you can never go back home." In a way, I knew this would be true for me as B.J. and I followed God's leading to come to Spain as missionaries, but I didn't expect that returning to the country where I was born and raised would be so complex! But the truth is that Spain has changed and I have changed. I left Spain 11 years ago as a Third Culture Kid (TCK) who felt more Spanish than American, and now return to Spain as an adult feeling like my life here in Spain was only a dream. Welcome to the life of a TCK- beautiful, but confusing at times.
So, what has it been like for me these past few months? The term "pang" comes to mind. Honestly, this is a relatively new word in my vocabulary that I learned back in December when B.J. and I were going through our cross-cultural training. We were warned that we would, at times, feel conflicting pain on the mission field, and I can attest to this occurring in my life pretty much every day. On one hand, I love being back in Spain. The sunny skies, the flamenco culture, beautiful architecture, a more laid-back atmosphere, visiting old friends and forming part of a great mission team...these are all great things! But I also feel the pain of leaving my identity as an adult, the identity that B.J. and I had as a married couple, back in the States. This produces confusion, stress, and sometimes doubt that this is where God wants us. Yeah, I know it's perfectly normal and called re-entry, but it still hurts!
Thankfully, I have a Savior who is above all this pain and confusion and who knows exactly what I'm feeling. He also left what was comfortable and safe for Him and came to earth so that we may have eternal life. I am also thankful that, as a child of God, I am loved and cared for by a Savior who is above all- whether I'm in Spain or in the States, and whether I'm going through an identity crisis or not. Yes, it hurts to die to oneself each day, but if Christ did so for me, I can certainly go through some cultural shock for Him. I wonder what we could accomplish for Christ's Kingdom if we all just died a little each day by holding on to obedience and letting go of personal comfort? I'm not saying that I've got this down because I certainly do not, but it is the desire of my heart to become less so that Christ may become more. And, in the end, after some time of being back "home," I'm sure it will actually start feeling like home, at least one with an earthly address.