It’s not a matter if a storm is going to enter your life. It’s when. But storms do not define our lives. Rather, they provide opportunities for us to overcome adversity, which can help us discover who we are, including our gifts.
“Compared to what others have gone through, the storms I have faced seem petty and insignificant. However, to me, they have shaped me and continue to do so,” says Katrina Ball, a member of the Chase Oaks family. Katrina would face a lot of obstacles in her life. As she overcame each one, Katrina would discover her God-given gifts that she uses to make a difference at Chase Oaks today.
The Beginning of the Storm
Katrina has five children (“two of them, furry and four-legged”). She has been married almost nine years. Originally born in Texas, Katrina moved out of state at an early age and grew up just outside of Boston. She has one brother, who lives the single-parent life, in Houston.
When Katrina was four, her parents divorced. The dissolution of a marriage is a wrenching and agonizing process—one that causes a ripple effect for not only the parents who are divorcing but also the children caught in the storm.
Katrina describes this period as “really hard.” Katrina and her brother moved with her mother to Massachusetts four years after the split, when she was about eight years old.
“I blamed my mum for taking me away from my dad,” Katrina says. “And the fact that she met someone, Tony [Katrina’s stepfather], almost immediately after we got settled didn’t sit well with me.”
During her years in Massachusetts, Katrina admits to making her mother’s life difficult. Therefore, by the end of her junior year of high school, Katrina’s mother sent Katrina to Texas to live with her father.
It’s there that she ended up in more storms, including a teenage pregnancy (resulting in the birth of her oldest daughter). Later in Katrina’s twenties, she would face another tumultuous relationship as she built it on her desperation to not be alone rather than on love. This relationship resulted in the birth of her son.
“Despite what other people have told me,” Katrina says, “I’ve never seen myself as a very strong person. So, to this day, I do not know where I mustered up the strength to take my two young kids and leave. But it has to have been one of the best things I have ever done.”
The Calming of the Storm
But no storms last forever. Eventually, the storm clouds begin to clear, and the sun begins to shine through.
The clouds began to clear in Katrina’s life when she met her future husband, Jock.
“[Jock] knew immediately that he was going to marry me and that I was going to give him the daughter he had been praying for,” Katrina says. “Our first two years together were interesting. We had a baby, we moved to Vegas, got married, moved to Phoenix, and then back to Texas. Jock has taught me so much about God, about who I am in God’s eyes, and he’s the reason I am where I am today. We do not have a perfect life, but I firmly believe this is where God meant for me to be all along.”
Today, Katrina’s mother and stepfather, Tony, are still together. Tony has become Katrina’s second father and one of her biggest fans.
Katrina, who had always been a daddy’s girl, has now become especially close with her mother. Katrina has overcome much of the guilt and shame from her early tumultuous teenage years and her twenties.
Katrina’s three children are also thriving these days.
Her oldest daughter, Khara, just started her freshman year at a small college in Pennsylvania.
“I was barely out of high school when I found out I was pregnant with her. Before I got pregnant, I was trying to go to school, but partying was more important. After the first month [of being a new mom], I went back to school and worked full-time.” Katrina gave up the partying lifestyle to focus on being a mother to her daughter.
Katrina’s son, Anthony, is a sophomore in high school. “He’s my extra-curricular child,” Katrina says. “He started going to D-Groups in fourth grade at Chase Oaks and has been with the same group of boys and has had the same adult leader since. That group has been such a blessing for him, and he has built such a bond with everyone in it.”
Katrina’s third child, daughter Jordon, is 9 and in fourth grade. “She is definitely her father’s child,” Katrina says. “She has an old mind, a heart bigger than her petite body, and a radiance about her that shines brighter than the sun.”
Katrina’s love for her children and joy from being a mother would soon lead her to finding a calling to use her gifts.
Discovering Her Gifts and Passions
Today, Katrina and her family are part of the Chase Oaks family, having been at the church since 2010.
Within a year of attending, Katrina and her husband were in a LifeGroup. She also found herself attending MOMS and women’s Bible studies. A year later, Katrina and her children began volunteering in the nursery during Sunday services.
Ever since she volunteered in the nursery, she has been volunteering in Kidzone every week as well as working in the KidzKlub. Serving in Kidzone and working in KidzKlub would help her discover one of her gifts that started developing when she was a young girl.
“Since I was 4, and my brother was born, I have loved kids,” Katrina says. “There is nothing more genuine than the joy that spreads over a child’s face when they see someone or something they love. I can be having the worst day, but when I see one of my kids, it all goes away.”
The other thing that Katrina says she loves about volunteering with children at Chase Oaks is that the children she watches are not just any children, but they become her children, too. “I get to watch them grow up and learn and blossom.”
“I’ve bounced the idea around of looking for another job,” Katrina says, “One with more steady hours that could benefit my family. But I simply can’t fathom leaving my kids. What I lack in income, God makes up for in love, snuggles, and smiles. And no amount of money could ever replace that.”
It’s funny how God is in control, even in the middle of the storms of our lives. Katrina and her family’s lives are a testament to the idea that God is our protector and is in control—even when we are facing our biggest storms.
In some ways, these storms have brought to light Katrina’s God-given gifts of loving and caring for children, be they her own, those of Chase Oaks, or really—all children everywhere.
“He calmed the raging storm, and the waves became quiet.” Psalm 107:29 (GNTD)