Jeanne Gennari’s Testimony

Jeanne Gennari CASM member since 2003

My Life Before Christ

I knew it all; I did it all; I planned it all; I was in control of it all—or so I thought. But it was all pretty disastrous. I blamed this on fate, circumstances, bad luck, and others, but never on my own selfish, prideful choices.

God was so remote to me and had no place in my daily life, even though in my heart I knew He existed. Like so many, I believed I was insignificant. I was in charge of my own life, and, anyway, He was too busy with other much more important worldly issues to worry about insignificant me. For a while my intellect and reasoning actually had me in denial that His existence could be plausible. Romans 1:22 says, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Raised in a Catholic church, which is what Italians do, no questions asked, it wasn’t too long before I became disenchanted. I didn’t understand why they kept changing the rules or how it all applied to my life anyway, other than the moral standard they taught. However, I did what was expected and sent my kids until they could reach the age of accountability and choose for themselves. I wish I had had a knowledge of the Bible back then to have the right instruction in raising my children and myself. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:16).

The wake of destruction followed me and my family as I hid in the darkness of sin, believing that I had everyone fooled. I lost my own self respect as well as the respect and trust of my children. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Meanwhile, I peppered my life with enough good deeds, decent decisions, nominal friendships, and love of family to think myself noble and okay with the Lord in case He was there and watching.

How Christ Saved Me

While still on a slippery slope, God brought an unlikely character into my life, as He is known to do, and this man—whom I fell for hook, line and sinker—turned out to be my undoing and renewing. An alcohol and drug addict who was an ex-con expert in the realm of wooing the ladies, he definitely charmed me. Eventually though, through his 12-step program and Alanon, I was re-introduced to God. This was the point where I realized what a mess my life was and that I desperately needed help from above. I truly believed it and began to live it by trusting the only One who could be trusted. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28). I knew that whole “higher power” thing spoken of in those meetings was God Himself. At the same time, my daughter and her husband were saved, and through their prayers and guidance and my surrender, God was drawing me to find out just what the Bible had to say—and wow! It said more than I bargained for! As I attended a Sunday Bible study, Home Fellowship group, and eventually church services, I began to understand and learn. I was so convicted of my depraved condition and had a real hunger and thirst for the Word. “If you continue in my Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). I felt free. I am still not sure of an exact date or time of being “born again,” but knew it was happening.

His Life in Me Since

Well, after about 18 years saved, I am… “growing in the grace & Knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet.3:18). I no longer think that I am all-knowing or in control of anything. As a matter of fact, only God’s wisdom, freely given through prayer, gives me answers to life’s challenges and questions. I no longer take pride in cutting down with words, which I was once good at, but now strive to build up and encourage others instead. I no longer dwell on material and worldly matters. Romans 12:2 tells us to “…not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I strive to place all my focus on Jesus and the constant prompting of the Holy Spirit, knowing “In Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). I am imperfect, but am seen by God as perfect through my Advocate, Jesus. I no longer take anything for granted, but am over flowing with gratitude for all God has done and is doing in my life. I have learned to “cease striving and know that He is God” (Ps.46:10).