Jessica is a style influencer, musician, lifestyle/portrait photographer, traveler, and
 an anything-is-possible dreamer. She currently serves as an associate worship pastor at Gateway Church, where she is the music director/pianist and travels with various music artists. When she’s not playing music or taking pictures, Jessica is often pictured in front of the camera as a style blogger. She views her life as a story God is writing. Jessica opens the pages of her life on jessicasheppard.com, where she shares about faith, fashion, and fine art photography.

How do you hope to make a mark in the lives of others?

It has always been my desire to use whatever platform of influence I am given to be a positive influence on other people. I’m certainly not perfect, but I have surrendered my life to God’s ways and do my best to honor Him in every-
thing. I remember growing up admiring Rebecca St. James (Christian singer/songwriter/author), who was largely known for her openness about virginity. When I was about 11 years old, I attended a True Love Waits event she hosted and felt the Lord speak to me to save not only my body for my husband but also my heart. As a result, I chose to not consider dating relationships until I was at an age to consider marriage. Although this is a unique calling, God’s grace is written on every page and I am keenly aware that He wants to write the story of His faithfulness through my life. This has become the most impactful decision in my entire life, next to asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Even though Rebecca didn’t have a direct effect on me at a personal level, she planted a seed by the way she shared her life through her platform of influence.

In the same way, you are making an impact on people observing your life—no matter how big the platform or social media following. In fact, you reach people that I cannot. You never know who you are influencing, so be an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

As the Lord continues to write the story of my own life, I hope it inspires other girls to set their standards high, make purity a priority, trust God in all things, give their talents to Him, and dream big, because He will do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20).

How has your faith impacted your life?

As a creative, I believe our ideas are God-breathed and God-inspired because we are created in the image of the ultimate Creator. That is why I believe the Church should be the most creative force in the world. We bring Him pleasure when we use our gifts to honor Him. This is true worship.

Do you have a key mentor who has made a mark in your life?

I’m blessed to be surrounded by many godly leaders. Each of them has left their fingerprints on my life in a unique way, but at the end of the day my parents top the list of those who have left a mark.

My dad has been in Christian music for longer than he’d be willing to admit. He is truly one of the men who paved the way for worship music as we know it today. He spotted my mom at one of his concerts, asked the pastor for her address, and started writing her letters. They were married within five months, and the rest is history.

One of the things I admire most about my parents is that they raised me to believe that with God’s help I could do anything I set my heart and mind to. They never pushed me to follow in my dad’s musical footsteps, but once I started taking classical piano lessons at the age of 5, they said quitting wasn’t an option. I had rough days of not wanting to practice or wishing I could give up on lessons, but my parents saw a natural ability in me. Because of their influence, God’s faithfulness met my diligence and multiplied my efforts. Their wisdom, encouragement, and guidance impacts my life every day. Mom’s hotline-to-heaven prayers don’t hurt either ... I need all the help I can get.

Do you have a guiding phrase you live by?

Grow gracefully, think eternally, pray courageously, lead boldly, respond wisely, wait well, and dream forever—day by day, present in every moment.

Fun Facts About Jessica

• She can nap anywhere—anytime. It’s a gift.
• She’s never received a traffic violation.

• She travels as often as possible. Just last year she stayed in a treehouse, a train caboose, an Airstream trailer, and a yurt.