In recent months, I've been hearing only one word in response to every desire I have for my life, and that is a sharp, determined, unyielding "NO!" So in the last few days, I've been thinking, pondering, meditating upon, and re-thinking the following: Am I crazy?

I re-read some favorite portions of Scripture, old stuff I'd written, journal entries from years ago, notes from sermons and messages that impacted my life significantly, etc. And all of that just seemed like confirmation. But confirmation doesn't help me. It only makes me all the more determined and my mom all the more worried. And so I decided to look further back. Where did it start? When did I start having such delusions, if they are delusions? How did I manage to get so carried away with all these notions of missions and having a heart for the lost that I'm ready to risk everything, including my life, to pursue just that?

Growing up, I read a lot. And I wasn't allowed to read all the entertaining fiction stuff that other kids read. No, we got biographies. Stories about missionaries and preachers and great men and women of God. I remember being inspired but it was so long ago I couldn't remember what exactly it was that inspired me. So I decided to re-read a few and see whether my crazy ideas of having faith for the impossible was well-founded or just bogus ideals that I'm fighting in vain for.

I opened Amy Carmichael and her story hit so many raw nerves, I didn't know what to do with myself. I finished reading the book but not without coming to the realization that my reading and re-reading and thinking and pondering were only serving to strengthen my resolve. And right now, it is not my resolve that needs strengthening, but for the faith of those around me to grow enough to release me to go do my thing.

So, I suggested to my mom that she read the story of Amy Carmichael and Gladys Aylward and others. My prayer is that her faith in our Savior would grow once again and far outweigh her fear for my well-being and the fear of what "people" might say or think.

My final point is this: My parents did a fantastic job raising me. They gave me everything in life that is truly valuable! They taught me faith. They nurtured the conditions under which I came to know Christ. They helped me understand what is truly important in life. If I may borrow from that Scripture, they trained me up in the way I was supposed to go and now, I simply cannot depart from it--even if they might have changed their minds.

I'm 24 years old and it's time I decided to live my life according to my convictions, and not to please anybody. So regardless of whether I have the choice to choose, I'm choosing. I will return to India or wherever God would have me go. I will serve. I will love. My life may seem like a complete waste to most people. But as that happens, I will rejoice because that is when I will know that I have given of myself completely to my Lord.

Benita Joy