by kat dufrene
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but what has happened is something beautiful.
The months leading up to that first Sunday, I grieved differently than I had ever grieved before. Excitement, pressure, expectations, surrender, the unknown, letting go… These were all taking up space in my heart. I battled with comparison, rejection, doubt, sadness, inferiority, and pride. I was taking a step into the unknown, and even though I had accepted the position I felt ill-equipped to fulfill the expectations of me. Multiple times, I asked the Lord why it had to be me. Many conversations—more one-sided monologues of me just being pitiful than actual dialogue—with Him had to do with what I considered to be a terminal inadequacy on my part. His patience and grace and love toward me never ceases to ground me, to place me back in the strength and security of His hand when I’d been running circles around Him in blinded self-absorption.
On January 10, 2021,
I walked into the meeting room where the Resurrection Life Church Poplarville Campus would hold its first church service. There was a lightness in my spirit, an anticipation, an expectation. Something special was about to happen. Since the building is only available to us on Sundays, there was already a team of volunteers arriving to unload the equipment and various items needed for us to set up and run a “pop up” church service. We laughed and joked and vocalized our prayers and expectations for the birth of this new extension of Resurrection Life.
“Holy Spirit, if you’re not here, then we don’t want to be here either. We just want to be where you are, being a part of what you’re doing,” was the prayer in my heart I’d been repeating over and over for weeks. I continued to pray it as the worship and media teams set everything up, rehearsed together, corrected some technical issues, then waited for 10:30 a.m. to arrive.
By no means do I consider myself an expert worship leader. I have, however, learned a lot over the approximate 24 years I’ve been a part of worship in some capacity. I grew up watching my mother value worshipping Jesus with great reverence and adoration. Before I fully understood it (or had a decent enough voice to contribute), I knew singing songs, playing music, and dancing for Jesus are acts of worship to Him that I loved deeply to do because I love Him. From a being a part of a Full Gospel church to a private Baptist middle school, a Catholic high school choir, a Methodist youth choir, several non-denominational youth worship teams, and to multiple adult worship teams under the umbrella of RLM, I’m so very thankful for what I’ve gleaned over those years. The fullness of that history is a deep well that I draw from when leading others in worship, and I do not take that honor lightly. Expert or not, competent or not, I often ask the Lord for the wisdom and discernment to steward His presence, my team, and the people we are leading well.
One of the synonyms for “fresh” is the word “renewed”. Since taking on the role of the main worship leader and overseer of the worship department at the Poplarville campus, I have seen where the Lord has renewed multiple areas of my life. The weeks following that first Sunday, peace and intimacy flooded our time of worship together as His presence filled that room. There was a release of His Spirit that was so sweet. I’d stepped into a different place of authority as a result of surrendering myself and my will to Him those months prior in the midst of grieving leaving all that I’d known and grown comfortable with for over 2 decades. I was learning how to lead my own team in a new way with completely new people. My heart had almost immediately attached itself to this new campus and the people as if I had fallen in love with a newborn child at first sight. There was also a new sense of freedom and joy growing in my heart.
Not once have I had to question if the Holy Spirit is there with us when we meet on Sundays. As we continue to grow and navigate this first year of existing as the Poplarville Campus of Resurrection Life Church, the Holy Spirit is the one we want to continue to make it grow and to guide it. Though our location is fresh and new for the Poplarville community, the heart and vision and DNA of Resurrection Life Church remains the same no matter where our church family meets—Picayune, online, or Poplarville.
If I had stayed where I was comfortable… with what I knew and could expect… I wouldn’t have made room inside myself for the Lord to renew me. He knew what He had for me, how beautiful it would be. I just needed to let go of what I had been holding on to so tightly in order for Him to place something new and purposed in my hands. He gave me beauty for my ashes.