My gifts of communication and creativity first came to light in my childhood. I spent hours drawing pictures, fashioning handmade presents, listening and talking to others, and writing stories. I played “teacher” when my brothers and sister agreed to be my students. You could even say I took on my first ghostwriting assignment at the age of eight when I captured through words in my journal the stories my grandpa (Allen Urbanek) often told.
However, I became so quiet, shy, and withdrawn over time that some thought I would get lost in the woodwork. Anxiety, doubt, and fear silenced me. Low self-esteem hindered my expression in many ways.
My high school art and English teachers encouraged me to develop my creative gifts in college, but I doubted my own abilities and opted to study something a little more practical. I had become interested in management while waitressing at a local restaurant during high school and decided to pursue a business degree at The University of Texas at Austin (UT). I focused on marketing, because it allowed the most room for creativity.
Intrigued by the foreign language my grandparents spoke, I also took Czech language classes while at UT. I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic twice and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Czech Studies as well as a business degree. Several months later, I moved from the Texas countryside where I grew up to Silicon Valley in California to work for a Czech-owned company as a marketing communications specialist.
Shortly thereafter, I transitioned to working in the non-profit sector and learned that I could use my education and skills in development (i.e., fundraising). Thanks to a manager who recognized my potential as a writer and asked me what I really wanted to do, I started writing grant proposals and other development communications. I realized while working as a writer in the Texas Medical Center that I didn’t have to be a nurse or a veterinarian (two other career options I had considered) to help those who are hurting or sick. I could use my words.
By the age of 26, I had discovered my own need for emotional, physical, and spiritual healing and how the restoration of my health would enable me to communicate fully. You can read more about my testimony of physical healing here. The more healing I experienced, the more my passion for communications—and my courage—grew.
My desire to write could no longer be contained. In addition to writing for my day job, I started writing curriculum and non-fiction materials for ministers. Ideas for my own books and inspirational messages came next. Much of my early training in communications occurred while serving as a volunteer and working on staff at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
God had given me a second chance to develop and use the creative gifts He had placed within me. In August 2009, I finally trusted the Lord to help me do what He designed me to do and launched my own writing and speaking ministry, Abiding Communications. I returned to my hometown, Taylor, Texas, as an inspirational author and speaker. Even though I had delivered the valedictory address at my high school graduation, the messages that poured from my mouth 13 years later surprised everyone, especially me.
I am amazed at how God transforms us into all He destined us to be. God had called me “bold, brave, and courageous” long before I saw myself this way. Little by little, I stepped out of my shell and moved forward with confidence. In 2013, I launched www.MichelleFlippin.com to share more of my personal writing. God confirmed that being a wife and mother is just as much as part of my destiny as writing and speaking, and in 2015, I married my husband and became Michelle Marie Hernandez. The best is yet to come.
The Lord has restored my voice and given me something to say. Today, I write and speak about everyday communications, health and healing, leadership, and professional communications. If you are looking for words that will equip, heal, and inspire you, I invite you to subscribe to my blog. I will share insight on communicating better both verbally and in writing; building a business, ministry, or team; strengthening relationships; and enduring through difficult and painful times. My goal is to encourage and equip you to grow personally, professionally, and spiritually, so you can achieve your vision and fulfill your God-given purpose.
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“The work of Michelle’s hands and mouth for the Kingdom of God are powerful, uplifting, and definitely thought-provoking. She inspires all of us to be “healed” and to be “healers” of one another by living our lives in such a way that the world will know the One who is truly the Great Physician, Jesus. Michelle’s sincerity of heart shines through all her words of wisdom!”
– Rev. Linda V. Chandler, pastor of Austin Brethren Church and founder/CEO of HOST Ministries
“Michelle’s words are an art form (on a higher level), and she is the painter.”
– Rick, newsletter subscriber