What inspired Jess to create the Footwashing Series?
Jess was inspired by the Holy Spirit to create the first image. She said, “It wasn’t actually meant to be a series.” It all started on Valentine's Day. I’m 29 and currently single. Jess was just determined not to go into this last Valentine's Day sad or depressed or feeling hopeless. And so she sat down with the Lord the night before and just started drawing. And He just gave me this concept for this beautiful image of Him washing her feet (a woman) wearing a wedding dress. And she just felt like that was how Jesus would love me on Valentine's Day, that he would affirm my dignity, that he is the perfect lover of me. And the expression on that woman's face was just of her crying. That's how she thought when she was imagining that scenario, “What would I do if Jesus washed my feet and gave me a big bunch of flowers and just defended his love for me?”
And then Jess thought, you know what? Maybe there are some other women in this world who would appreciate having this imagery as they walk into Valentine's Day as well. And so she shared it, and never could have imagined it being received all across the world by people the way that it was.
Days after posting the first image, she was standing in my kitchen making her dinner. And Jess had this idea in her mind, she started seeing this flash through of Jesus washing lots of different people's feet. Through all of the world chaos happening at the time, she just kept picturing Jesus washing everyone’s feet. From there she drew Jesus washing the feet of someone who supports vaccines and then someone who was protesting against mandates, and Jesus washing the feet of a police officer. After those initial drawings, Jess started creating a whole series of Jesus washing people’s feet.
Her mission with the Footwashing Series is to show that the Lord loves every single one of his children and we all spend a lot of our own time trying to decide who is worthy of that love. Her art is a way to inspire people to stop and examine our own hearts to see if we are truly loving people for who God created them to be.
What tips do you have, Jess, for young women who struggle to slow down and let God love you where you are??
When Jess finds herself in a busy season, I often think about Mary & Martha. Jess said, “Naturally I’m a Martha. I love to do things for the Lord by serving Him and his people. It’s unnatural for me to be a Mary where I can sit at his feet and just absorb His love.”
We are all in a constant balance of figuring out Mary vs. Martha. For example, when you wake up, do you grasp for your phone or start your work right away? Some women, especially me, always have a million things going on & it’s easy to feel like there is no time to spend with Jesus. #redflag In order to truly slow down, you have to cut other “priorities” out of your schedule and use that time to be with Jesus.
YOU have to make it happen. Your day & your entire life will be so much better when you let Him affirm you and allow Him into your day through prayer. For example, when you wake up, ask Jesus, “What do you want to say about me today? Here’s what I’m struggling with ___ and how do you want to heal those today?” It can even be as simple as, “Lord, what do you want me to do with my life today?” His voice is always so kind and encouraging.
How has Jess shared her faith with those around her?
Jess said, “God has made us all with individual fingerprints. We are all SO unique and the ways that each of us communicates with Him is so unique. I think the way that we share Him is just as unique.”
For Jess, she feels God calling her to share through simple words & illustrations. It’s a lot of what happens at Salt & Gold and her hope is to share the gospel and who Jesus is in a really simple way.
The way God speaks to me will be different than how he speaks to Jess. This is the same as the way I am called to share my faith is different from how Jess shares her faith. This is the same for you, friend. If you struggle to find what strengths you have to share your faith, you have to recognize the gifts God gave you. For example, God gave Jess the gift of being an artist and for me, Whitney, I’ve been given the gift of talking and share conversation with others. Take some time with Jesus and ask him, “Lord, how can I share you with others? What is the unique way you are calling me to share the gospel?
Sharing the faith isn’t easy. Jess said, “Often I'm scared, like, what if I share and the person doesn't meet Jesus? A lot of it comes back to my own fear. What if my relationship with the Lord isn't good enough And so for me, it comes down to the fact that I would rather look like a fool and get it wrong than someone miss out on encountering the Lord. If someone hadn't taken a risk to share the faith with me, I'd still be an atheist. That's the actual truth, friend.”
What is one piece of advice that you want every young Catholic woman to know?
“I want every person to know that Jesus is so real for you. He made all of humanity, which is a LOT of people, but His love is so specifically for you.” -Jess
God is speaking to you all day, every day. Whether you are listening or not, God is still there with you through every good & bad minute of your day. Jess said, “I take my dog out for a walk every morning and after living in this neighborhood for a year, I just noticed that the street is lined with olive trees. Olive trees are a sign of peace.”
He cares about you and every little detail about you. He cares about who hurt you that day. He cares about what purpose you have for your life and what you invest your time and gifts into. Your relationship with Him can be vivid and alive if you open your heart to his love, grace, and mercies.