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…..
For more info visit… http://www.chantellehenderson.com