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You may know of Essence Atkins and the extensive catalog of TV and film work she’s done over the years, dating back to the ’80s, but you may or may not know how important her faith is to the 48-year-old actress and mom. So when the former Marlon star had the opportunity to talk about it as part of UMC‘s new docuseries, Behind Her Faith, directed by Paula Bryant-Ellis (mom of actor Jay Ellis, who is an EP on this project), she jumped at the opportunity to open up about the ways in which God has provided for her. She joins other notable women who open up about difficult moments that strengthened their faith for the series, including Niecy Nash and Aisha Hinds.

“I know that it’s part of a calling of being a disciple of Christ, to share the good news,” she said of the importance of her sharing the walk she’s been on. “For me, sharing part of my story is letting people know that if you have any admiration for me whatsoever and the people that are on this series — they’re all women people admire, look up to or follow from a social media standpoint. If you have any admiration for me personally, then I want you to have the same access for your own success. That’s why it’s important to share. It’s not about tooting my own horn. It’s about letting you know whatever you see and whatever I’ve been blessed with, it’s because of the choice that I made and because of the relationship that I have. I do my best to be responsible with what I’ve been given, and the first thing I’ve been given is salvation.”

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