“A friend of mine in a Sunday school class, Karen Allen, just said everybody has a story, and they need to tell it,” said Herndon, 78. At one of the group meetings, Allen told everyone to write down their stories.
Herndon’s story was that her father sexually abused her for 10 years, from age 5 to 15 when she got married, Herndon said. In January 2017, she released a book called “Finding His Strength,” which details her personal journey toward God and her healing process .
“I had no idea that Essie would — it was for her that day. I think that’s the coolest thing. When the Lord prompted me to say that, I had no idea who it was for, but it was for her. And the beautiful part about it is that she stepped out, and she did it,” Allen said.
Following the death of her mother, Herndon, who was just 2 at the time, was placed in an orphanage for four years. Herndon said her father married five times, and she has 21 half step-brothers and sisters.
“People wear masks all the time, and I wore that mask and facade for so long,” she said.
Proce from the book, which can be purchased on amazon.com, go toward the Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia, a center that provides housing, food and clothing to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“The donations that Essie has made, we use to provide direct client assistance. Oftentimes when people come into our programs, they might be unable to come up with security deposits or one month’s rent or utility deposits; any of those things,” said Dee Simms, executive director of the Safe House.
“One lady just stopped me on the road and said, ‘I am just like you, and thank you for your book.’ I’ve had more people say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, because you have opened up my heart and given me some hope,’ ” she said.