Book Review: Preemptive Love

I've mentioned a couple of times that I am trying to make more time to read. Of course I read to our boys all the time and we've tried to really encourage Thing One to value reading now that he can read on his own. There's really nothing that speaks louder to our kids then when they see me trying to squeeze in a few minutes of reading my own book--which I have been doing over the past few weeks with this new book, Preemptive Love.

This book is the amazing real life story of a family who left the comfort and security of their life in the West to pursue peace and life in Iraq. Although not the reason they moved to Iraq, a series of events led them to start a non-profit organization, the first of its kind in Iraq, to provide life-saving surgery to children born with heart defects. This story shined a light for me on the violent history, political struggles, ethnic diversity, and the sheer number of children suffering from heart defects in Iraq. Author Jeremy Courtney describes how he and his wife Jessica had to move from a position of "calculated charity" to "preemptive love: loving first and asking questions later." I love this quote, which I feel pretty much sums up their position:

"People much smarter than I have challenged our way of life and called us naive for thinking the world won't eat us alive this way. The truth is, we've done the math on it, and staying alive is not what we call living."

Wow. So much courage, so much faith. Courtney does a good job of giving you a feel for what the organization has gone though: the triumph of saving lives, the joy of finding unexpected allies (still wondering if you can trust them), and seeing big things come together. But all this is set along side the constant threats and fear, betrayal, and the toll all of this takes on friendships and marriages. When a couple with basically no medical background embarks on an intensely medical mission, there are bound to be bumps in the road and he details some of how they had to navigate those.
"But conviction and naivety are good friends. We nearly destroyed our marriage trying to help everyone else."
He talks about how there was so much distrust, hatred and prejudice to overcome. When they started the program they were sending Iraqi kids to Israel for surgery. Though that wasn't the most ideal solution (and was in fact met with intense opposition), they saw how God used the life-saving surgery to spread seeds of change and peace between the long-time enemies. When someone who shouldn't have a reason to do anything for you does the thing you need most--the thing that even your closest friends can't or won't do for you--it certainly gets your attention.
 "...every act of violence can be spun one way or another to increase fear and ensconce the powerful, but only mercy through a constant campaign of giving itself away, can undermine hate."
I don't want to give all the good stuff away, but I hope you'll believe me when I say this book is definitely worth the read! You can find out more about or get involved with Preemptive Love Coalition here.

Thanks for reading!
- Haley

*Disclosure: Howard Books sent me a free copy of this book, for my honest review. All opinions expressed on here are mine... 'cause it's my blog. : )


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