"Joy.... I think it is when you know with every fiber of your being that things are in their proper order, the way things ought to be." It was a different definition than I expected my husband to give, but sometimes coming at something from a different angle helps. Everything is in it's proper order, it's proper place.
That means, God is in control and I accept and submit to that. I don't fight and struggle against the things I don't like, because I can choose to trust Him even when there are difficult hard things.
That means that I choose to live my life in harmony with the sphere He has given me. I am a wife, and that means I have certain obligations to my husband. I am a mother, and that means that I have certain responsibilities toward my daughter(s). I can choose resentment, or I can choose acceptance. Only one of those options is the path to joy.
This explains why it is possible to choose joy in the midst of sorrow--why joy and sadness can exist at once. Sadness may be the opposite of happiness, but it is not the opposite of joy. I can be sad, I can grieve the loss of my son, Christian William. I should be sad, I should grieve. The loss of a child is something that ought to bring sorrow. But there is joy in that sorrow as well. I know my son is happy, with Jesus. I know never meeting him on this earth was part of God's sovereign plan. I know the separation is temporary, a few years, and then our family will be together again. While my mother's heart still grieves, I can find peace in trust and submission.
So while there is sorrow, there can also be joy, because--as much as is possible in a world of sin and the curse--things are in their proper order. God is in control. He is a good God, a kind Savior, a gracious Lord. He is worthy of trust. As long as I choose to believe and submit, as long as I choose trust, there is joy.