We found my sister’s journals after her death, tucked in a bookshelf corner in the office she spent time dreaming in. Endlessly innovative, she spent hours haunting HomeGoods and perusing décor magazines, the journals yet another outlet for her creativity.

When she got breast cancer at age 23, we were stunned but undaunted. She was a young, glowing mother–invincible. But as it re-emerged time and again to wrack her fatigued body, stealing her hair and vitality and lengthening her hospital visits, it was harder to hope.

When she died at 28, a part of me did, too. But buried treasure in the form of her journal, written during the desperate days of her cancer journey, gave me reason to hope again:

“So, how am I emotionally? Well, I choose to have peace. I choose to have joy. And you know what? You can have what you choose. My life is filled with joy, peace, love and usually, patience. He is faithful. My God is faithful.”

In the midst of her pain and confusion over God’s purposes, she chose joy. What circumstances do you need to claim joy in?