Kathleen Baskin-Ball is an amazing woman. I feel blessed and priviledged that she served as my mentor during my 4 years of residency (2002-2006). Every month we would meet together to talk. We would always meet together for more than an hour, and Kathleen made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. She did not take phone calls, she did not leave when I am sure that there were a million things that she needed to attend to. And when she prayed for me at the end of our time together, wow, she would hold my hands and I would feel the power of the Holy Spirit wash over me. I learned so much from Kathleen during that period of my life, but I remember the way that she made me feel loved and valued. She made me feel confident in my abilities as a pastor and reminded me over and over again that I was never alone in ministry.
Kathleen is an incredible preacher. In the spring of 1999 I took Word and Worship in seminary where we had to visit a church for 4 consecutive Sundays, and I had heard great things about Greenland Hills UMC. It was my first time to hear Kathleen preach, and I was blown away. Here was a preacher who made children seem so important. Here was a preacher who got emotional in her sermons and it was not sappy or distracting, it seemed authentic and honest. Here was a preacher who talked about the Holy Spirit as a woman and could preach like nobody's business. Every sermon I was amazed at the way that the themes were constant throughout the service, I was impressed with the imagery, with the stories, with the way that Kathleen would weave her personal life into every sermon.
When it was time for residency (the years of probation before you can be ordained) I asked for a mentor that was a woman. I was blessed to be matched with Kathleen. When it was time for me to be ordained I could choose 2 people to lay their hands on me. I chose Kathleen and Sara Hardaway (my mentor in the candidacy process who officiated at my wedding). I am so blessed to have Kathleen as my mentor.
I have been praying for Kathleen for nearly 2 years as she has battled cancer. The cancer has now spread to her brain and Kathleen is saying her goodbyes. How do you say goodbye to someone who has made a difference in the lives of so many? How do you say goodbye to someone who is too young to die? How do you say goodbye to someone who has been an inspiration and a model to so many women (and men) in ministry? Kathleen has been so strong during these years. She has been so faithful and confident in God's healing. And when God heals us the most, God brings us into God's presence in heaven.
Please pray for Kathleen, her husband Bill, and their incredible nearly 5 year old boy Skyler. Read more about Kathleen and amazing news stories of her during these past years here.