Chantelle…….A Masterpiece Michelangelo Couldn’t Create


Ryan and Chantelle Henderson


Recently I sat reading Chantelle’s information. As I went from line to line, I felt the tears began to flow as the Spirit of God quickened in me. I felt the Spirit of God explaining her to me as I began to fully His beautiful creation, this masterpiece in Christ Jesus.   

In our communications I have realized what a very unique person Chantelle is, as I have learned to understand the other half of her life, her husband Ryan. Together as one, Ryan and Chantelle’s story rivals that any one that has ever been written. The miracle of love poured out as these two lives became one by the grace of God, is such a tremendous love story, it would make even Shakespeare jealous.   

To understand the life of Chantelle Thomas Henderson, one needs to understand the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Auguste Rodin. These men represent arguably 3 of the greatest sculptors of all time. Chantelle, her life, her marriage to Ryan, and what she has become in Christ Jesus is nothing short of a masterpiece that is equal to (actually greater than) Michelangelo’s “David”, or Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”.   

To understand sculptures let us travel to in 300 B.C., somewhere between the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. Here we see an artist crafting with his hands a vision that he wishes to create. He starts with crude non distinguishable chunks of beeswax. He works with the wax and creates the form that the sculpture will resemble. He then covers it with liquid clay and then cooks it in a fire. In the flames the wax is lost, replaced by empty space. Tin and copper – alloys of bronze – are gathered, mixed and heated. Once the alloy is melted, it is then poured into the cavity where the wax had been inside the fire-hardened clay. The metal then cools and the sculptor knocks the clay from the metal. The first bronze of the still crude sculpture is cast.   

There are many rough edges, marks, core pins, sprues, vents, and risers that are attached to the rough initial first cast. These protrusions, scars and blemishes are removed with a saw and tool marks are polished away. Incomplete voids created by gas pockets or investment inclusions are then corrected by welding and carving. Small defects where sprues and vents were attached are filed and ground down and polished. Much work is needed to transform the crude chunks of wax that are then covered by clay, treated by fire and then worked skillfully by the master’s hand to remove all blemish and scars to finally reveal a masterpiece.   

Chantelle’s life is that masterpiece, and God is her Master Sculptor. To understand how this masterpiece began we need to travel back to 1971, in Memphis Tennessee where Chantelle was born. She was given up for adoption at birth and at a young age was exposed to pornography and sexual abuse. While babysitting at the age of 14, a father of the children she was babysitting began sexually molesting her and abusing her.   

Even though Chantelle had accepted the Lord into her heart as nine-year old, the sexual abuse she was encountering at the hands of this pedophile continued into her teen years. The wounds she suffered emotionally as a result of the abuse led to more problems in her life such as to drinking, and partying.  She struggled to maintain some sense of sanity by trying to immerse herself in the church but to no avail, as the wounds suffered by the abuse she was encountering led to an eating disorder, and the use of cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol.   

The sexual abuse finally ended when she moved away and gained employment as a flight attendant. Even though the sexual abuse had ended she struggled to deal with and to medicate the deep wounds she was suffering by using cocaine. The abuse she had suffered beginning as a child had wounded her as the drugs altered her reality, she allowed men to use her, worked briefly as an exotic dancer, and became pregnant.   

Where Chantelle found herself in life, was a far cry from the young girl who loved to go to church every time the doors were open, and attended youth camp every year. Gone was the innocence of her youth, destroyed by the sexual abuse that started as a child and continued until her late teens. Her childish giggles and laughter had faded into the horror of addictions of drugs and alcohol. The dances she enjoyed in too-toos as a little ballerina turned into dances that she’d perform on a different stage as an adult, while she removed her clothes; as the wounds of her pain, masked by sin hid the masterpiece that lay within. She felt shame, injected into her heart by the lies of the enemy as he preyed upon the innocent heart of a child, as was set out to destroy that which Christ had died for to redeem, Chantelle.   

Satan thought that his plan was perfect. Chantelle was abused; her innocence was shattered, her joy gone, and replaced with sorrow and bitterness. She was in New York, struggling to deal with her life and she was using cocaine. One night as she did more and more cocaine she began to feel the powerful effects of the drugs taking a toll on her body. Suddenly she began to feel she was going to die. She sat in a fetal position fearing for her life on the cold hardwood floor of an apartment, and the God of her youth was quickened to her heart. She began to cry out to the Lord and promised Him that if He allowed her to live until the next day, she’d pack everything and move back home and that’s exactly what she did. The Master had begun to form His masterpiece.   

As she went back home she found herself in church where she met a young man named Ryan. She had not dated since coming home as she could not get over her past enough to allow it to bring restoration and healing to my own life and heart. She as dealing with herself, and there was no room for a man in her life. But she consented to meet him for a date following a four-hour telephone conversation with him.   

Ryan was a strong Christian, and innocent to say the least. Before asking her out, Ryan had no idea of her past. So there they sat on their first date that night at Olive Garden on Highway 78 in Snellville, Georgia. Chantelle decided to lay it all out for him, all of her past, and then she wouldn’t have to worry about a second or third date. So she fired both barrels. She waited for him to bail out the nearest exit, or make some excuse to leave. But he didn’t…..he stayed.  Not only did he stay, when he went home that night the Lord spoke to him that Chantelle was to be his wife. Here we can see our Lord the artist, in love crafting with his hands a vision for Chantelle and Ryan’s lives that only He could create.   

Ryan and Chantelle were married and it would take much work by the Hand of the Master for His masterpiece to be finished as no great work of art is done in a day.   

God started with crude non distinguishable chunks of life that Satan had left of Chantelle and began to mold her with love and care from His Son. He began working in her life and slowly began to create the form that resembled a sculpture. God brought Ryan into her life and Ryan’s love was the clay that covered her and that held the wax together and they were tested by fire.  In the flames the old wax was lost, but the form of the sculpture God was creating was held intact by the solid hardened clay covering His work, the love for Chantelle placed in Ryan by God. The empty space inside the form of the clay was to be replaced by two separate alloys melted together to form bronze that would become God’s handiwork inside the form crafted by His hand. Chantelle and Ryan were the alloys melted into God’s spiritual bronze that was then poured into the cavity where the wax had been inside the fire-hardened clay. The alloy forged by fire then cooled and the clay was no longer needed as the alloys had forged, becoming one. A sculpture was formed and the Master Sculptor knocked the clay from the metal. The first bronze of the masterpiece God had made of Ryan and Chantelle’s life was cast.   

There were still many rough edges, marks, etc., attached to the rough initial first cast. But by the Masters hands these protrusions, scars and blemishes were removed by the working of the Spirit in their lives and are continually being polished away.   

In Chantelle’s life as it is in all of us, much work is needed to transform the crude chunks of wax that are our lives, so we can skillfully be transformed by the Master’s hand into His masterpiece.   

Chantelle Thomas Henderson is the handiwork of God the Master Sculptor, and she and Ryan form a masterpiece as they were forged together and they became a thing of beauty that Michelangelo in all his glory could not even come close to creating….   

As Chantelle explains ….God says, “I will give you beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah- 61:3)   

That He certainly did, and then some…..   

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13 replies

  1. What a wonderful testimony and divine creation made by God’s love. Thank you, Chantelle and Ryan for sharing your life and encouraging others that no matter what the circumstance, our lives can be transformed through the love affair God has with us.

    • You are welcome. All glory be to God!!!! Mr. Creswell’s writing has given me so much revelation that I am blown away and just when I thought I had it all figured out, I read this and gained a new, priceless perspective. I’m still “chewing” on the meat of what Pastor Darrell penned.

  2. This is so great.It is my first time to read this blog.This is wonderful i think people should read this.Well i have bookmarked this page and i have backed up this testimony too among my documents online on my account with safecopy backup.It is so encouraging.Thanks once again

  3. Mr. Creswell nailed it. I know Chantelle and Ryan and you couldn’t have written a more true and better piece. They are who I only hope to become one day. Chantelle is a long time friend of mine and I cherish her. She is my “Jesus with skin” (as she says) and has been there in my darkest hours and has seen me now in my most beautiful and brightest time in my life. No matter how far life takes her, she will always be here in my heart. Her story, his story, their story all mixed into one is a story that I think her grand kids, grand kids will continue to tell. I love them both and I couldn’t have asked for a better masterpiece that God created than these two. Her testimony still makes me cry every time I hear it or read it and I know that God is still working on His masterpiece so ya’ll just sit back and watch!! You are so right Mr. Creswell…..”Michelangelo in all his glory could not even come close to creating”.

  4. Anyone who knows Chantelle will agree with me when I say that she always uses herself, her life, her setbacks, mistakes, and lessons learned as a road map, a ” how to” guide to avoid the many potholes lifes pathway is often riddled with.

    It is not in her make up to hide her past — as so many of us often work so hard at to do for fear of ridicule, rejection or gossip. Nope, not Chantelle…she is the exact opposite. In doing so she accomplishes two things: Making herself abundantly real by revealing her “once dirty laundry” out there for all to see, and then by doing that she manages to accomplish the real message of the gospel, by exposing the lie of Satan, we are unloveable.

    For all of us to have a bible filled with the countless stories of God using broken men and women as His megaphone, we tend to forget that it is no different for us and His desire to use us if we are just this one thing…WILLING! Here is where Chantelle excels…she is always WILLING. Her life is a beautiful testament of God’s greatness showing up and cleaning house because the tenant was aware she needed to let Him in.

    Satan can only use what we allow him to have to use against us. Chantelle and Ryan are a perfect example of what happens when you let go and let God. But for them, for her, it is important that she tells others who are depressed in spirit, the disenheartened, the beaten, down troddened, the broken and hopeless…that within us all lies greatness because of this one impervious fact…His tumb print is on the center of our soul and despite the the many twists and turns our freewill may have taken us the carnage left behind is just evidence that He had us in the palm of His hand all along and now can use the ugly mess to tell of His endearing message of hope, grace and love.

    She is not ashamed of what God brought her out of and uses it at all cost and opportunities to breathe life into the many lives lost in the storm. I admire her, her willingness is inspiring, her love for God is genuine, her humility is refreshing and her story is an anchor of hope. His banner over us is LOVE…thank you Chantelle for waving that banner loud and proud!

  5. Quote: “Much work is needed to transform the crude chunks of wax that are then covered by clay, treated by fire and then worked skillfully by the master’s hand to remove all blemish and scars to finally reveal a masterpiece”.

    Our clay vessels goes through the fire to loose the wax; and to harden the clay. Adding alloys of bronze shows the new fire of trials in life at a new level of life. When the alloys of our life has been purified and polished; we come forth as a masterpiece.

  6. What a wondeful story and a testimony I was unaware of. Thank you for sharing, Chantelle you are beautiful and my “online soul sister.” 🙂

    • Believe me….I am both humbled and honored….May God get ALL the glory. He is writing the story of my life so that others will see it and know that it could have ONLY been His love and grace that makes it a “best seller”. 🙂

  7. Ryan and Chantelle are truly a beautiful couple. Having known Chantelle for 16 years, I can testify that the transformation is sincere and wonderful. God has had his hand on her life, and in Ryan and Chantelle’s marriage since the beginning. I believe that what He has in store for them will be a blessing to lots of people…the best is yet to come!

  8. The amount of work that the man did, surpasses many a modern artists even in this age of mass production.

  9. EWhat a beautiful, wonderful love story. The love of God reaches far beyond any thing we could ever amagine. Chantelle, I have never met you,have never had the honor of knowing you. But I feel a kinship of love because you are my sister in Christ and what a blessing. Thank you for your testimony, it is going to help others who feel like they are forgoten,know there is hope in Jesus. God bless you and Ryan .

  10. I have known Chantelle and Ryan since the beginning of their marriage and I cant say enough good things about these two. She is an amazing woman. I know for sure that satan has tried but cant take hold on these two.

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