Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series on Overcoming Life's Hurts.

If you've ever found yourself saying "This wasn't supposed to happen" I know how you feel. 

I, too, found myself saying that at 19 years old when my father's alcoholism was revealed and my parents divorced. I was raised in the church so that was the last thing I expected to happen in my family. Everything I found security in seemed to crumble beneath me. I found myself wondering why God didn't hold my family together. Why didn't He prevent the brokenness from happening? Why did He seem to be sitting it out? 

My comfort came -- and the questions were stilled -- when I stumbled upon these verses in the Bible:  

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It was as if God was saying "I know what is going on here, Cindi, and although you don't understand it, you must trust Me through it." I realized then that it wasn't so important for me to understand why I was hurting, but it was essential that I trust the One who, in love, was allowing the hurt to happen. 

I chose to trust God that day, rather than question Him. And I can honestly tell you that today, almost 30 years later, God has worked that entire situation for good in my life (by working a deeper trust in me and showing me how to be compassionate toward those who hurt), in the life of my father, who is now 30 years sober and ministering to countless other alcoholics, and in the lives of my other family members. Did God cause those hurtful situations in my family? No. But He was able to work through them to bring some purpose out of our pain. 

Our lives often don't go as planned, but don't think for a minute that anything that has happened in your life took God by surprise. 

After 30 years of ministering to women, as well as experiencing pain in my own life (a little of which I mentioned above), I can assure you God has a reason and He knows what He's doing in allowing whatever  breaks your heart, slows you down, or gives you  grief. 

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts,  I offer ten steps toward healing and wholeness. The first step is to realize there's a reason and a purpose behind your pain. I know that's easier said than done so let me give you three practical ways to start trusting this loving, all-knowing God on a daily basis -- even when you're hurting:  

1.  Thank God in the midst of your pain 

Scripture says "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18, emphasis added). To be able to say "Thank you, God, even though I don't understand this" is not only an act of obedience in which you live out God's will for your life, but it is an act of faith. (And Hebrews 11:6 says "without faith it is impossible to please Him...). Can you practice this crucial step of faith and obedience  right now by  thanking Him for each painful memory you have, not because you feel thankful, but because you're commanded to be thankful...and because you desire to please His heart?