Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Welcome to Widowing Well with Hope

Hi friends,

Thank you for joining me here.  My name is Kim Berndt and I'm the founder of 'Widowing Well with Hope'. I began my blogging journey back in 2006 and over the past 17 years it has evolved from fun family content, to a soft landing space for a heart devastated as I began my journey into loss and grief.

My happily ever after began August 15, 1987 when I married my husband Tim and soon after our children (Ashley & Andrew) joined our family.  We experienced ups and downs, joys and sorrow, yet nothing prepared my heart for July 9th, 2018.

It was a beautiful sunny Monday morning. Tim and I enjoyed our morning routine of eating breakfast together as we sipped on our coffee chatting about our day.  He then prayed with me, kissed me good-bye and we each headed into our day.  Little did I know that before the day would end, my life as I knew it would change in an instant.

We were laughing, and Tim was teasing me (as he often did) as we were winding down our day.  I decided to do some reading and Tim headed into his music studio to strum a little on his guitars.  As I read, I heard a loud noise thinking something had fallen in our garage, so I ignored it.  A few minutes had passed when I realized I no longer heard Tim playing his guitar, so I casually got up to go see what the noise was.

As I entered the door of his studio, I found him on the floor unresponsive. I knew immediately that he was having a heart attack. I tried to wake him, I begged him to breathe; realizing I needed help I ran to grab my phone calling 911 as I began CPR. As I held Tim in my arms, I knew he wouldn't make it, and the next 3 days in the cardiac ICU, proved what my heart already knew.  Tim would meet Jesus.

On Thursday, July 19th, 2018 at 2:32pm our family walked Tim to Jesus.  I've said it over and over again, but there is NOTHING as sacred and holy as handing the hand of the one you LOVE most...to Jesus.  Feeling the Holy Spirit's presence so tangibly over the 3 days in the ICU, I became keenly aware that the vail between heaven and earth is so thin, and oh how I wished Jesus would have returned...to take us all with him.

Over the past 5 years I've dug deep into my grief knowing that the only way through ~ was to move through each and every painstakingly difficult piece of grief that my heart held. So may broken shattered pieces of a life once lived, holding them in my hands asking the Lord how in the world would I ever be whole again?

Each step, feeling Holy Spirits presence so near, has proven that he does rebuild beautiful in and thru our lives.  As the broken shattered piece of my life were put back together, I now look nothing like I did before death. Yet, in the process I've grown in ways I never knew I could, and the depth of LOVE I have for Jesus is inexplainable.

Widows never like to be told that they are 'strong'; however I've gained a level of strength and purpose that could have only come through the valley of the shadow of death. 

My HOPE is that as you journey with me you'll find a safe place that holds tenderly the broken pieces you carrying as we link arms walking towards JOY & HOPE.  I promise you, they are just on the other side.

#hope #joy #rebuildingbeautiful #bettertogether #beautyforashes #faith

Sunday, October 3, 2021


 Grief continues to be a great teacher in my life.  At times, she's gentle - offering sweet memories and treasured moments that bring comfort to my heart and tears of happier times.  Then at times, she's harsh and relenting with the heavy blows that crash into me, leaving me breathless navigating gut wrenchingly hard tears that leave me feeling as though I may never live to tell of her story of survival.

Grief, quickly drove me into a winter season - a season of death where life as I once knew it, was gone and with it, came devastation in ways I never knew.  As I continue to navigate loss I've studied and reflected on the seasons of life and how they parallel with the seasons of nature, and in it,  I've found great comfort.  

During the winter season, trees go through a process called dormancy, which is a period of time when their growth and development stops.  Temporarily.  A trees metabolism slows down significantly and this helps the tree to conserve more energy for the colder winter months ahead. Water becomes a scarce resource, and although the tree is dormant - they are in a resting phase with essential life processes continuing at a minimal rate.

During winter, the trees roots are resting and this season is extremely important for the health of the tree.  In this resting season, the tree is preparing for spring - where seeds are being produced. 

Grief - so closely parallel's the harsh winter season in nature.  When death hit, everything stopped. I could only focus on the next step - the next thing I had to do.  Like a tree, I felt like my life was dormant - and I thought my life was over.  Growing and moving forward were words I simply could not wrap my head around.  Yet in this season, the Lord continued to provide his living waters to nourish my parched soul. Unlike the tree, HIS living water wasn't a scarce resource - it was my only resource!

As I've pressed into him...year one...year two...year three and as I walk into year four I'm beginning to see and feel spring as buds of new life beginning to grow.  I find myself walking in and with more joy, peace and contentment. Yet, I'm not naive to know that just like the transition from winter to spring still blows in days where winter reappears and tries to wipe out all of the spring growth the ebbs and flows of grief do the same.

Yet, as I'm beginning to see and walk in the promises of spring, Jesus continues to be so tender and kind with my heart.  Hopes and dreams are being birthed  - things I never would have anticipated dreaming about 3 years ago are now things I'm processing and working through. Yet, in my dreaming he continues to woo me with this thought:

"Kim, place every hope & dream into my hands for in your obedience, I will bless you with something even greater.  When you willingly give up what you want and it feels hard and like a sacrifice, and the waiting seems long - know that it won't compare to the joy of what I will give you in exchange.  I've placed these hopes and dreams within you, so rest in me and watch me move.  And in your waiting, I long to draw you close to me so that your devotion to me is rewarded with things that are above and beyond what your heart desires.  I promise, that as you press into me, you will experience my presence is such a tangible way that you will not be distracted by what the world says you should chase after, and you will be surprised and in awe of my goodness and my faithfulness when I show up."


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Picking up the shattered pieces, and turning them into peace

It's been 6 months since I've moved to Texas and 929 days of walking in and through unimaginable change, yet in the process growth that continually propels me towards healing, and learning to live from a posture of surrender.

As I stood on the shores of 2020, I felt the Lord calling me to a year of REST. Although I didn’t know how or what that would look like I felt in my spirit that 10 days in Maui would be pivotal in quieting my heart as I leaned in to hear his voice. 

By the end of January I felt the Holy Spirit confirming that he was calling me away from my church in MN. My church and many within her walls had been a rock during my grief journey; and although I didn’t know how that would look, or where he would send me, I tucked those words in my heart and began to seek the Lord for direction.

As I headed Into April I was furloughed from my job a day after I shared with a precious friend that I WISHED I would be furloughed to have necessary time for rest and deeper healing. God answered. :-)

I then began to experience more rest and healing as I traveled and spent time with my parents in WI and with both of my kids and their families for 3 weeks in Charlotte. 

As June was coming to a close, Andrew and Rachel felt the pieces were coming together for them to follow the Lords call to move to Fort Worth, and since I had nothing tying me to Minneapolis I packed up 25 years of life and decided to move with them.

Walking into the fall, I continue to lean into HIM as I was navigating a new city, no job, no friends, and needing to find a home church.

And, just like God always does, he moved in ways that proved his plans were undeniable.  He opened a door for an amazing job and working with a boss that I simply LOVE.  He lead me to the most amazing church family, that has been so instrumental in my spiritual growth, and I’m slowly meeting people and feeling like this is home.

A season of REST......not doing….but simply sitting and being in his presence. 

As the holidays approached, they honestly were the hardest I’ve had to navigate so far.  Perhaps it was because the shock had worn off and I’m now living in a new reality?  Perhaps it was because everything in my life had changed, and nothing remained the same, and everything seemed so unfamiliar?(Except for my AMAZING family) Or, perhaps it was so the Lord could continue to do a deep healing work in my heart?

Often, throughout the past 2 1/2 years there have been times when I’ve felt I’ve carried a spirit of heaviness like a cloak around my neck.  Some days, I've felt so consumed by it yet I easily hid behind my smile not wanting to burden anyone with the heaviness of my grief, because let's face it, we as a society do not know how to walk along side of the grieving.

As I walked into 2021, my spirit felt that the Lord was preparing me for a new season.  I intentionally joined my church family on a 21 day fast, believing that this year would be a year of the  ‘supernatural’ in my life, and I’ve already seen the Lord move in amazing ways.  In ways that only he could and his peace that passeth ALL understanding has been so comforting to me, and I no longer feel or carry grief and it’s heaviness like a cloak. Yes, I still miss Tim, but my grief has shifted and I’m finding joy and hope even in the midst of loss.

As I reflect on the Lords continual faithfulness I'm often taken back to a passage found in Genesis 45:7-9 which says, 

‘For it was God who sent me here.”

I know…that I know…that I know…..that God’s perfect, sovereign plan sent me and called me to become a widow on July 12, 2018 at the age of 49.  Although this isn’t the plan I had for my life, I continue to see God’s comfort, peace, joy and promises unfolding and with each step I take he continues to shift my prayers from: 

‘Please, Lord, shield me from every trial, and protect me from pain - - -  and I now pray:

“Lord, allow whatever dreams to shatter that will release my heart to meet yours, that will empower me to REST in your love, and sovereign plan, no matter the cost or how empty and desperate I may feel; and please reveal the beauty of your life to me and through me.”

Happiness and Sorrow run so very deep and wide, yet HOPE continues to carry me knowing that he’s proven himself FAITHFUL to me each step, and he will never leave me, nor allow anything in my life that won’t make me more and more into his image.

As I look at the shattered pieces of my life, I continue to see my sweet Jesus picking up each precious piece, and creating amazing ‘peace’ within my heart.

The Lord has truly shifted my mourning into dancing, and my eyes are fixed on him, RESTING in his promise to rebuild beautiful in and through my life.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Blessed, that Goodbye's are so hard

Since January I've sensed a restlessness in my heart - in a good way - feeling as though change was coming. 

Most know that within the first month of Tim's passing I changed EVERYTHING in my life, except my job; and my job was the one thing Tim and I had agreed (weeks before he passed away) I needed to change. After Tim's passing, I didn't have the strength or clarity to look for a new job - so I stayed - knowing that eventually I'd need to make a change. Then one day, six week into quarantine (working from home) I casually mentioned to a dear friend that the best thing that could happen to me was if my company furloughed me.  We laughed, but we both knew I needed a break - I needed time away - I needed a push to reflect and think about my future.  Then, the very next day, I was furloughed - for 14 weeks!  

14 weeks off of work
14 weeks to process, think and pray
14 weeks to intentionally travel and spend time with family
14 weeks to seek God and watch him move

During this time off I've spent a lot of time reading, writing and praying that God would make his plan perfectly clear to and for me.  I saw this time off as a 'gift' from the Lord to rest, reflect, and continue processing my grief as I inched closer to the second anniversary of Tim's death. As I've sat, as I've listened and as I've processed this is what God has been revealing to my heart:

The FIRST year as I walked through loss and grief I adjusted to Tim being gone, and I learned how to live life alone, be by myself, navigate how I would 'live' each day, and I slowly started to find my footing. 

As I began the SECOND year of walking through loss I began to process grief in a much deeper way - and at a deeper level.  I was now keenly aware of every detail, every dream and every intimate piece of our marriage that I now needed to grieve, realizing I would never experience them again with Tim. (almost) 31 years of marriage required much unpacking of memories - knowing I had to grief each and everyone of them individually. Year two of grief (for me) was so much harder than year one. Yet in the heavy grieving, slowly my wounds began to heal - and scars began to form.  Scars, a sweet reminder of healing, a declaration that my Jesus is faithful, constant, loving, true and I'm finding healing in ways I never imagined.

As I now walk into year THREE - grief is still here - but not as all consuming, heavy and ever present as it once was.  I'm feeling God stirring me, leading me as I begin to dream about my future, penning my hopes, my dreams, my hearts longings, knowing God has an amazing plans for my future. My days of being alone aren't as heavy, and sadness is no longer a cloak I carry around my neck. Yes, I still miss Tim terribly, but with each passing day - as I look back and remember, I see God's faithfulness.  So many days he has carried me when I couldn't stand on my own two feet - he's gripped my hand ever so tightly helping me put one foot in front of the other when I wanted to stand still.  Now, I'm living with a sense that he's loosening his grip on my hand because I'm finding my footing, I'm finding my confidence knowing that he hasn't left me, nor will he and I can move forward taking steps of FAITH into the amazing future and plans he has for me.

Over the past few months I've felt confident that God has called me to make and take a BIG step.  A step that is unknown, a step that is very unfamiliar, a step that is requiring me to seek him like never before. A step I believe he is leading me into, where he's asking me,

"Kim, do you trust ME?

He's asking me,

"Kim, are you willing to follow where I'm leading you even if much is unknown?"

One thing I've learned thru my journey is this: God loves me and he's sustained me through my darkest night, so I know I can trust him with my future, even if I don't have all of the pieces and details worked out; and as I walk into the unknown I don't need to worry, BECAUSE he knows! He knows my beginnings from my end - and he's ordering EVERY one of my steps.

As I follow his leading and his plan, I've been packing up the life I've known - the life I've lived the past 25 years here in MN as I prepare to move down I-35 to Texas with Andrew, Rachel and their little family.  I've been processing much as I think about leaving behind 25 years of life - 25 years of memories we built as a family of 4 and then as a family of 11. It's bittersweet.....as I leave behind so many memories of Tim here and move to a new city - a new state that holds no memories of us together.  Yet, in the unknown I have peace and I'm excited to see all of the amazing new memories God has in store for me.  

My life here in MN has held some of my hardest life experiences, and at the same time some of the sweetest memories.  Over the past 2 years I've been BLESSED with so many precious friends and a church family who have stepped into my loss and grief and they've loved me well.  I could never adequately express through written words how precious these gift are and continue to be in my life. Many have stepped into the world of a widow and offered a safe place, love, encouragement, support, laughter and friendship. I'll miss each of you dearly; but I'll be back to visit as I have family in WI, and my daughter-in-law's family is from MN.

Am I nervous?  YES
Am I excited? YES
Am I at peace? YES

As I take this step I know and believe this is part of God's sovereign plan for my life and for my next. And with each step I take, I'll lean into his amazing presence knowing in this new season he's stirring much in my heart - and he's helping my heart to dream again......and with each dream he reveals, establishes and brings forth, healing will continue to do it's work in and thru me.

As I navigate and process this huge change, I've been reminded of this quote: 'how lucky BLESSED I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." Winnie the Pooh