From milk and eggs to gluten-free products, the average American family spends $1,000 per month on groceries. That is why Melissa d’Arabian is committed to helping others make the most of their money in her FoodNetwork.com web series “Smart Carts: Winning the Supermarket.” Melissa is no stranger to the kitchen. She won the fifth season of Food Network Star and went on to host Ten Dollar Dinners also on Food Network. We sat down with Melissa three years ago and talked about how she learned how to stretch a dollar, work a kitchen and how her parents’ divorce and mom’s suicide affected her faith.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4
Melissa’s cooking is known for being affordable and stylish. She opens up to us on how her upbringing influenced her to become a steward of her resources.
“Being raised by a single mom we never had extra money to spare and I think that is just something that stayed in my blood. I believe in purposeful spending. I still clip coupons to this day, and I think a lot of that I can trace back to my mom. I remember one day when I was little, my mom fed us dinner and she was really proud of the fact that it had cost her thrifty-five cents. She had gotten some chicken wings on sale [the whole chicken wing, not the little appetizer size] and I think that pride in having fed her family for so little money, carried on in me. I always feel good about not overspending and I feel we should be good stewards of our resources.”
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:14-16
Melissa reflected on how her parents’ divorce and mother’s suicide affected her faith and how she had to reconcile those things to make her faith her own.
“I grew up with a general sense of faith. I went to a Christian junior high, I went to Christian camp, I went to church, but I think Christianity and my faith were more of academic exercises through my teenage years. When I was twenty, my mom died by suicide. My parents got divorced when I was just a couple months old so that left me without any parents. So that put me into a little bit of a faith crisis. I had this general sense of faith, but I had a very hard time reconciling what my mom’s suicide meant. That was a decade long crisis and it took those ten years for me to reconcile that faith and how my mom’s death fit into that. My faith shifted from this automatic, academic, acceptance of Christianity, to really questioning and probing where I stood on everything and what my personal relationship [with Christ] was. I came out of that with a much more mature sense of faith; that was more purposeful and one where I participated more actively.”
Be a good steward. God has entrusted each of us with time, talent and treasure. We are responsible to ask Him what to do with those resources. From eating out to a new pair of shoes, take time to pray about how you are using your resources. Instead of buying a coffee, God might want you to donate a meal through your church’s homeless outreach ministry or instead of buying a new outfit for yourself, He might want you to help a single mom who needs to buy groceries or an outfit for a job interview.
Ask the tough questions. Whether it is a death of a loved one, divorce, or estranged parent, often times life’s trials affect our faith and relationship with Christ. It is okay to ask God, “Why is this happening?” If possible, turn to a close friend, pastor or small group leader to help you process the situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth and give you the wisdom and strength. Look for examples in the Bible of characters that went through a similar trial as you are going through. Study how they turned to God and how God responded to them.
Get help and help others. Mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide affect many people and their families. If you are struggling with mental health, get help. Turn to a professional counselor or pastor. If you need medical help, don’t hesitate to see a doctor or specialist. They might not have all the answers at first, but it will be a step in the right direction. If you have a friend that you think might be struggling with their mental health, offer to come alongside them. Ask them how they are doing. Offer to take them to the doctor or counselor. Hold them accountable to taking their medications, going to appointments, and getting the help that they need.
To read our entire interview with Food Network Star’s Melissa d’Arabian click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, seek help immediately. Saddleback’s Hope for Mental Health has created a landing page with many resources. http://hope4mentalhealth.com/act/resources