Updated: Nov 15, 2020
I love being around people who encourage and inspire me. People who make a difference in their communities and the lives of those they touch. Melissa Levi is certainly one of those people.
I met Melissa about seven years ago when she enrolled as student at the small Bible college where I taught. Smart and quick-witted, she excelled in her courses, and it didn't take long for me to discover she was a writer. I asked if she would be willing to come up with and write a weekly piece we could use on the college's website...maybe a short, inspirational read. She graciously accepted, made it her own, and The Mustard Seed was born.
Fast forward several years. The Mustard Seed is a regular hit, serving up bite sized nuggets of encouragement and Godly wisdom...the perfect, "middle of the day- I need a break from the world," read. Her writing made a real difference in people's lives.
Sometime in early 2016, I asked if she would take a look at a story I'd been working on. Read through it, let me know what she thought. Suggestions? Ideas? Should I just throw it away...quit? I was terrified to let a stranger's eyes peruse my first serious attempt at a full novel. She graciously agreed, read through it, and made thoughtful comments, suggestions, and observations. Then, despite the many problems with that early manuscript, she encouraged me to keep going.
Now, here we are almost four years later, and I ask her for another favor. Could I interview her for my website? She has a new book coming out, and I just released the first four short stories in A Piper's Song collection, so the timing seemed right. Plus, we've worked well together in the past and are both Christian writers who want to share the gospel with as many people as possible. Despite her extremely busy schedule, Melissa, once again, graciously agreed.
We emailed and messaged back and forth over the course of several weeks. I'd send questions, and she'd answer. I'd request pictures, and she'd send. I know she's busy; book release coming up, regular Mustard Seed blogs, family, home...real life, ya know? But instead of complaining about my random, sometimes multiple, late night requests, she handled them graciously, even encouraging me (once again) when I told her, only half joking, I was about to throw-up from nerves because of my own new release.
God knew I needed this time with Melissa, just like I needed the encouragement and wisdom she gave me during that early Darkness Watches manuscript. God knew I needed reminded that even during stressful times, it is possible to be kind and gracious. She has a way of doing that, all while steadfastly pointing you to the Truth.
If you've never read The Mustard Seed, check it out. Follow her on Facebook or her blog (links at bottom). Some Seeds are funny, others encouraging, but they all have a message and will make your day a little better.
Jason: Tell me a little about your writing journey.
Melissa: "I have been writing my entire life. My parents gave me a word processor for Christmas when I was 13. It was so exciting to be able to see my words typed out. I wrote all through high school and my young adult life. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I ended up getting distracted from my writing, but I never stopped making notes about story ideas. When I decided to go to school at Old Bethel College of the Bible, I found my desire to write rekindled, however this time it had a new direction. I was asked to write a devotional for the college website. I was not thrille