The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Transformation in Iraq

Lessons of war matter, but so does staying open to God's teaching today

I’m a different man than when I left for Iraq. Looking back at my experience in the war, I think of myself as neither a hero nor a victim. But I am a different man.

One month afterarriving home from
One month after arriving home from Iraq last year, Steve Timm takes 5-year-old twins, Jessica (left) and Charity (right) to their first day of kindergarten. Bethany, 3, keeps Dad company.
It’s not that I’ve changed physically. I went to war and came home without any visible scars, for which I’m grateful. But now I’ve been in combat. I’ve gone through a separation from my home and family for nearly 20 months. And I’ve been back long enough to understand how my perspectives have changed.

Back in April, I wrote for “God Pause” that going to war is like pressing a reset button on your priorities. On one hand, things that got you agitated before the war seem pretty small now. Who cares if the road has a pothole, as long as it doesn’t blow up when you drive over it? Other things are vastly more important, most of all the people you love and the time you spend with them. When you miss two of your children’s birthdays in a row, it’s precious to finally see their faces behind those candles on the cake.

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February issue


Embracing diversity