Editor's note: This is Part 2 in a 3-Part Series on Overcoming Life's Hurts. Click here to read Part 1: This Wasn't Supposed to Happen: Realizing There's a Reason for Your Pain.

"Why did I have to hurt like this?"

It's a question we often ask to try to make sense of God and our pain. 

It's a question Sharon has often asked, while trying to make sense of the physical abuse, incest, and other horrific events that accompanied her childhood.  Feeling for years that God hated her, Sharon buried her pain deep inside and blamed a god she believed was just like her angry, abusive, manipulative father. 

"I had a love-hate relationship with God," Sharon told me. "I wanted Him to help me, but I saw Him as mean and cruel and looking down at me with His finger pointed at me. I had a lot of faith, but I also had a lot of anger. There was a disconnect between my belief in God and what God looked like on a daily basis." 

Finally, Sharon admitted, "I had to believe in a God so different from the One I believed Him to be; I had to believe that the good God was real and the bad god was a lie." And she did that be reshaping her understanding of Who God is. 

In my newest book, When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts,  I point out that a crucial step toward healing and wholeness is to "Reshape Your Understanding of God"  because He is unlike anything you've encountered before. 

You can reshape your understanding of God by getting into His Word and discovering, as Sharon did, that:  

God isn't one who considers us "bad" but One who said in His Word: "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

He isn't a god who points his finger at us and waits to punish us. He is, instead, the God who said in His Word, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you ...thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

He isn't a god who desires that we be punished. He is the God who is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). 

He isn't a god who will withdraw his love from us if we do something he doesn't like. He is the God who says nothing can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38). 

Is it possible that, through your hurts and heartaches, you have perceived God as being very different than He actually is? Maybe you haven't done that intentionally. Perhaps, like Sharon, you just put a face on Him that resembles someone who has hurt you. Many women, like Sharon did, tend to believe that God is very much like their earthly father. Therefore, if they had a father who was angry, abusive, absent, disapproving, or just emotionally  uninvolved, they tend to see God as the same way. But the only way we can let God heal our hearts of the hurt we've experienced is to understand and get to know Him as He really is. As Scripture says He is. 

Once she knew the truth of Who God is, Sharon knew she could trust Him with healing her heart.