What I'm learning, as I get a little older, is that we always have a choice. People like to tell themselves they don't have a choice in this or that matter, but the fact is, we always have a choice. There are difficult choices, painful choices, choices that involve no "good" outcome either way. However, it's our choices that make us.
Sometimes people won't understand the choices you make, and will assume you're allowing things to happen out of fear, or pressure, or even a bit of ignorance. It's okay. They don't live your life and they don't understand the logic behind your choices. Being able to explain is fine, just understand not everyone will get the why behind what you choose.
But the most important thing I've found is that joy is something I have to choose as often as is possible. Not happiness. Happiness comes and goes. But joy is something deep down in your heart. Joy is what sustains me when I stop and think too long about certain losses, or situations, or start wondering why things have happened the way they have.
That unshakeable joy that comes from faith and love and confidence in someone and something bigger than me, who holds me and the people I love in his hands, when I'm not always certain I can hold myself up.