But as I look at the last two years of our lives and work here in Croatia, I am able to see the beauty that has emerged from the intentionality of being incarnational, whether it be in using language more and more, or to simply shop where Croatians shop, eat what Croatians eat, try to understand how Croatians think, I've realized just how much more bonded to this culture I am than if I wasn't living that way. And the truth is, I still have SO much more to go, and what's amazing is how much God stretches us in order to do that. I remember when we left France, a context where we also poured our hearts, our time, our lives into, it was hard to leave. I remember thinking, "I can't believe I put all of this effort into this, and now I need to leave." But, we are still friends to this day with those friendships we poured into. I believe God does something amazing into those incarnational relationships, God creates connection, community, love, and respect.
And while I've never stop being American, over time who knows, I may lose 5%, then 10%, then 25% of my American culture, but the neat thing is that people I meet here don't expect me to stop being "American". I think the key is intentionality - am I being intentional about trying to see my new relationships as family and friends, am I trying to accept the value of priorities of others, am I trying to at least understand a new way of living, playing, worshiping, working? I hope so. What I do know is that as I continue on this process, I give it all to God and know that God's love, mercy, and grace transcend all things, fill in the large cracks made by me, and burst forth through my weaknesses. For this I am sure, and grateful.