Episode #02 Murder, Motherhood, and Miraculous Grace. Debra Moerke

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From Today's Episode

Debra Moerke, author of Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace, shares her story of gut-wrenching heartache and fierce forgiveness, all while illuminating the miracle of God’s prevailing power and love.

Check out Debra’s book here, and visit her site here.

Today's Verses
  • John 16:33
  • James 1:12
  • Isaiah 61:3
Additional Resources


Kelly: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall and this is where we wrestle through faith questions such as, how do I trust God’s heart when his ways and delays are breaking mine? How can I believe God is good when life doesn’t seem good? My prayers that God would renew our hope in these conversations and that each of us would experience the very real power of his presence and love.

Today my guest is Debra Moerke.

She’s the author of a powerful book, which has impacted my life, where she shares her story. It’s titled Murder, motherhood, and Miraculous Grace. Deb and her husband Al were foster parents for 18 years and cared for more than 140 children.

She served as the Director of Women and Children’s Ministries at a Wyoming Rescue Mission. She was the executive director of a crisis pregnancy [00:01:00] center, a jail guard. That one was surprising, a jail chaplain. And she graduated from Gateway Seminary with a certificate in Christian Ministries. Currently, she’s the real estate owner and broker.

Stratton Real Estate Company and you have six children and seven grandchildren, six children and nine grandchildren. Wow, that’s so exciting. I remember when we first met at that Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference years ago, and you had started writing this book, and I was so drawn to your heart, just your faith and your understanding of what it is to wrestle with God through hard things.

So I’m thankful for our reconnection.

Debra: Me as well. Yes.

Kelly: I just wanna ask if you could share a bit of your faith journey with us, and even if there’s a scripture that God is speaking to you about right now that’s encouraging your heart, we’d love to hear it.

Debra: Well, as far as my faith journey I was born and [00:02:00] raised in California and our, I kind of considered our home a dysfunctional church-going family. So we were in involved with church and went, you know, on, on occasion and not real rural involved. But as a little girl, I’m the youngest of four daughters, you know, in my family.

So we would go to church and it was kind of a fun thing. At one point I helped an older sister with nursery and that was just my involvement as far as church and God and we prayed before dinner. You know, my father did with a routine prayer, you know, a routine standard prayer. But that was really it until my oldest sister at 16 went to a Billy Graham.

Crusade in California with a friend and she came back on fire. So she, I believe, was still our first born again Christian in our family. And so, being the youngest I watched, you know, I watched everybody else and I watched her changing. I also watched the reaction of the rest of my family towards some of her growth and faith, which wasn’t always favorable.

[00:03:00] But when I grew up and sort of left home, You know, my sister would try to minister to me. I’d call her and I would I was just that wonderful little sister that would say things like, you know, you’ve become a Jesus freak. And if I wanted to call, dial a prayer, I would call, dial a prayer. I’m calling my sister, you know, and she was very loving and continued to minister to me.

And then I ended up married in an, into a bad situation and a divorce and remarried, and my life was not going well at all. But those really, truly the one that I could say really led me to the Lord was my older sister. And it was her demonstration of her faith as I was growing. And so at one point I went to a little church with the three of my children at the time and.

My husband wasn’t going at all at that time. Went to a little church and heard a sermon on the sins of the parents. and that was very convicting to me. And I [00:04:00] thought, okay, I’m not left to just my own decisions. My own decisions don’t just affect me. My parents’ decisions had affected me, my, my decisions and how I feel it’s gonna affect my children and generations beyond.

And I went home and went flat on my face and totally committed to Christ at that point.

Kelly: That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing that. I love how God works to capture our hearts with his love. Do you have a favorite scripture you’re hanging onto currently that God is using to encourage you?

Debra: Well, the one that, there’s two really, and one is in John 16:33.

And it’s, you know, where, you will have trials and tribulations in this world, but be a good cheer for, I’ve overcome the world. And that has really become my life’s scripture because of many things that have happened in my life. When I get discouraged and I look at it through human eyes and human and earthly, vision here.

That scripture actually reminds me of, [00:05:00] this is all temporal. This is. , this is really not how it’s going to be forever. And that God has a purpose and a plan in everything that’s gonna go on in our life here on earth. But as he says, be a good cheer for, I’ve overcome the world. And so I love that because at those times of discouragement, all I know that I have to do is just step into what God is saying is that he has overcome the world.

So when I step into his realm and look at things through his eyes, I’m more encouraged and I’m. I just, I come away with a whole new strength, a whole new vision Yeah. Of what’s going on in my life. , and then James 1: 12 as far as persevering and that we will be, when we persevere through trials, we will receive the crown of life, you know, and that is what my main scripture in the book is actually.

So those are really my two life scripture. Yeah.

Kelly: Thanks for sharing those. So encouraging and you see that strength that you get from the Lord throughout your book. It’s so inspiring and really opened my [00:06:00] eyes to just what God can do when we’re willing to yield to him. When we’re willing to yield to his power and his purpose.

In our story. In your book, you talk about a particular phone call where you wanted more than anything to just shout. No way. But God called you to a different response far beyond your ability, and you said yes. Can you tell your story up to that point and how you wrestled through that call of God on your life.

Debra: Well, certainly just a little of the backstory before that call was having to do with what the book is about, a lot about is in the, a foster child that we had, we were very afraid for this child to go back home to the mother. The mother was a single mom that was not really doing well and we were afraid for this child’s safety.

And it wasn’t just her going back, it was four other siblings. So this whole family going back at one time and one. , we were very frightened for her. And we indicated to the caseworkers that we thought she was gonna [00:07:00] go back into a very unsafe situation because she was a targeted child of the family.

So as time went on, after this child did go home we had received a call the night before that police had found her body and that in fact the mother had taken her life and hid her body, and so we were devastated as a family. I had tried to build a little relationship with that mom as a single mom to be a support to her.

She was sort of resistant to that, of course, after the children went home. But I would stop by, bring food, do things like that. So I built a little relationship with her, and it was the next morning after that devastating news when my whole family was asleep after a night of just crying and sobbing and sorrow and my phone rang.

I was the only one up and, I, I answered the phone and the first thing I heard was the recording that comes on automatically from the jail saying that you know, there is a call from an inmate at the local jail. Will you accept the call? And even thinking back [00:08:00] now, this was years ago, it seemed to be in slow motion.

It, that call seemed to be taking so long, but I knew, and as soon as I heard that recording, it was just like this fire, just from my toes up through my body, you know, took over out of anger. and I thought, she’s calling me. They picked her up, put her in jail, and she is calling me. Why is she calling me? She knew we loved this child.

She knew that we said we would keep her, you know, for her for a while until she got on her feet and she said No, and all these things come to mind. And so my physical reaction was I was slowly taking the phone from my ear and ready to hang it up.

And in between that time when I’m thinking, no way, I’m not taking this call from her and I’m angry and I shouldn’t take this call from her I could just hear the Holy Spirit saying, if she called Jesus, would he take her call? And I was oh, no, . You know, [00:09:00] and then the reminder of, and who am I?

Am I not the hands and feet and mouthpiece for Jesus Christ? You know, am I to demonstrate Jesus? And if she were to call him, what would he do? And so I put the phone back to my ear and I did. I could hear myself saying, yes, I’ll accept the call. And I took the call. And that was sort of the beginning of this journey in this book.

Kelly: it was so heartbreaking as you

described the truth that you knew this little girl was in danger and you loved her with all your heart, and she was scared to death to go back to her birth mom, and it was so difficult for you to let go of her, and you did everything you could to try to keep her with you and with your family.

Yeah. How do you wrestle that out with the Lord? Such a heartbreaking outcome?

Debra: You know, that was very difficult because the day that we had to return her, cuz the [00:10:00] judge said that we were to return all the children that day, and I called the caseworker. It’s interesting when you find yourself in a, very scary, very compromising situation that you suddenly realize I had no control.

I was simply had the title as foster parent. I had, I was not the judge or the attorney or the case worker or social services, and I wasn’t the natural parent. So really I was bottom on that totem pole of any control or authority and… I remember pulling over the side of the road, with this child and just thinking, I cannot return her.

And my mind went crazy for a little bit. I thought, what if I took her outta state? What if I hid her? You know, all of those things you think of and then you think, I can’t do that. First of all I am a Christian. I cannot do that. But also, I’m a mother. I have a life here, my own children, I can’t do that.

But this protectiveness just overtook me. And then I realized I have no control. I can’t do anything to change the circumstance, even though I know this child is going into a [00:11:00] compromising situation. And especially when she’s looking at me crying and begging me not to take her back, and I just had to tell her.

I had no control in the situation and at first, I was really upset with God of, You fix this, step in here, do something, change their mind. Change the judge. Have them listen to me. That argument we have with God. I had a lot of arguments with God throughout that story, but when I had to finally drop her off and leave, and I of course cried all the way home.

it was one of those times that you just knew your only choice really was to release her into God’s hands. That I had no choice. I had to trust her in God’s hands because I couldn’t do anything about it. And those were tough times when, cuz when we wanna fix things, and we can’t we just have to let it go into God’s hands and let him.

Kelly: Yeah. And you visited the house, you kept trying to connect with her and you would never see her. And finally, the police discovered the truth. [00:12:00]

And then when she called you and you did, you took the call and she asked you to go see her, right? Yeah. And then you eventually did drive to the jail, but on the way you were so overcome with anguish about what God was calling you to do, I think you pulled over, right?

You feel like you were gonna throw up?

Debra: Yes, absolutely. I

pulled over, well, at one time I pulled over cause I thought I was going to get sick because I was so upset. I was basically crying all the way to the jail. And then I had my family behind me that was very angry.

My children were upset with me that I would even go see her… So then I’m caught in this vice, you know, of feeling what God’s calling me to do. And yet my family is not happy with me. And I remember getting there and thinking, how am I going to face her? And it’s so interesting how the one thing that crossed my mind was in this mother’s, maybe drunken state or drug state or whatever.

And her anger at this little girl she took it out in violence on her, [00:13:00] which took her life. And yet my feeling, and I’m thinking I’m devastated by that, but in yet, my first reaction is, I want to commit violence on this mother for what she did. And so you… It’s in all of our nature. It’s just if without God, it’s just don’t know how we would’ve had any control in that situation.

Kelly: Right. . . It’s just beyond comprehension. The way you honestly wrestle all this out in the book, I couldn’t put it down. My husband woke up at one o’clock in the morning and I was still reading. It’s beautifully written and the power of God is apparent on every page, and your wrestling is transparent and honest.

This is not an easy thing to do, but, it applies to all of us. It moved me so deeply in my own story. Just, the bigness of God to bring beauty out of ashes for his love to prevail over hardship was. Stunning. [00:14:00] So take us to that part of your story where you’re talking with her, you’re actually meeting with her in person and the struggle involved there, and then one at one point she asked the question, is there forgiveness for me?

Debra: Right.

Well, when got to, the jail and. What was amazing, first of all is that, well, I went in and signed in to see her cuz I am a jail chaplain. So I had, the permission and the opening there to be able to go and visit her. And when I got to the security door, that was slowly going into the jail to meet with her and they were gonna bring her.

And this is a face-to-face in-person meeting. We were not, we did not have plexiglass between us or anything. We were gonna be in a room together and, as soon as I got to that security door, it was absolutely amazing cuz I just shot up a prayer and I had been sobbing all the way and really a mess.

And all of a sudden just I stopped crying. My, my spirit was calm, I was very calm, my eyes were [00:15:00] dry. And so I went in and sat down waiting for her, for the officer to bring her. And what was amazing, when he did bring her in, our first response to each other in the room was we hugged each other, and I had hugged her before.

I’m a hugger, so I’ve always hugged her before when I saw her, gave her a hug. And yet here, even in this circumstance, that was the first an automatic. Response was to hug her. And I still feel that was the hug from God. had to be him, but we sat down and talked and she asked if I knew everything that happened and I said I didn’t.
And then she went on to explain what she had done, which was very difficult. And after we had spoken, She looked at me and just said there’s no forgiveness for what I’ve done, is there, and I know she had wrestled. They found this body after almost a year. So this had not just happened.

This mother knew about this and probably every night went to bed and wrestled with the fact of what she had done, for over that year, the rest of us, it was new information. [00:16:00] So she had been probably struggling or wrestling for a year with what she had done. But she said to me, there’s no forgiveness for what I’ve done is there.

And I said, forgiveness from whom? Who is it you wanted forgiveness from? And she said God. And that’s when I said it was very difficult for me because I knew through Christ there is forgiveness for even murder. And yet, our nature, our natural being says I don’t want to tell her that, I’m angry at her.

I don’t want her to be able to receive forgiveness for this because of what she’s done. So I said, through, Christ there is forgiveness even for this have you ever received Christ as your Lord Savior? And I still walked away from there surprised because God allowed me the opportunity to lead her to Christ, and she prayed to receive him.

Kelly: Oh, wow.

You led her to Christ that day.

Debra: I think it was the second visit actually, [00:17:00] that I went back when I when we did pray that. Yeah… But again, I left there thinking I can’t believe that God had me do that, you know, I just couldn’t.

Kelly: Oh my goodness. And then the struggle

for you to even hold her hands as you prayed, that was so intense. The way God met you. It’s supernatural and it is miraculous Grace. The title of your book is so appropriate. You know the many ways that God called you to walk in these deep places of surrender.

Was overwhelming. Everything in me kept crying out. Tell her no, do not do that. But yet the power of God to lead you. He kept leading you to say yes. And there were many more things that she asked you to do for her along the way. Can you tell us about some of those?

Debra: Well, One of the next steps were, she said that after the police had taken the yellow tape, off the [00:18:00] house and all this because it was a crime scene, she had asked another friend if she would go in and put all of the belongings, the children’s clothes, and she had five children there, the children’s clothes and.

Toys and pack ’em up and put ’em in storage, and I thought, why are you putting this in storage? I mean, you’re not gonna be out to do anything with these things. But, so she had convinced that friend, and then that friend said she would only do that for a month, pay for a month.

So then the next step was would, if somebody would take it outta the storage and bring it to my house, would I go through it and get it to the kids? So that was very difficult to do because there were things in these in her personal items that I found that were upsetting. , there were pictures, there were just different things.

Even you know, a pair of shoes, a pair of shoes that she had told me she was wearing one of those pair of shoes when she had taken the life of this child.

And that was upsetting… And then the next really big one was when they had her at [00:19:00] the state prison for women. And I would go there to visit her. It’s about a two-hour drive and I would go and visit her, but not tell my children cuz it would be too upsetting to my children. And. When this woman went to prison, she went to prison pregnant with her eighth child.

She was five months pregnant. And I knew she was pregnant, but that was of course not the issue at the time. What was going on as far as this case is what the big issue was. And at one of the visits she said, I wanna ask if you and your husband would consider doing something, and I said, what’s that?

And she asked if we would take this baby when it was born and take guardianship over the baby. So another level that we had to wrestle with, and my husband and I prayed about, my husband was very wise. He said, we don’t wanna take guardianship. We’re not going to raise this baby.

For a woman who’s gonna spend life in prison, he said, no, if we’re gonna do this, then we need to, she needs to agree to adoption, so that this child’s totally ours and we can raise this baby, as our own. And that’s what she agreed.

And [00:20:00] so we, we got an attorney to do that and agreed on that. And, And that was a tough decision as well, because those things that go through your mind of, well, we live in this community, this whole community is outraged and angry at this situation. This child’s gonna grow up then with other siblings in the community, and we wrestle with all of these different things. Is it better for this child to be maybe adopted out of state? , but We knew the whole story and I think the big thing with my heart was I had no control or authority to protect Hannah the little girl that was killed.
But if we adopt this baby that will give us authority and control over this baby’s life, to protect it, and so, So that was a big decision point for us, and we really had to seek God on that decision and we did adopt her. And she’s a wonderful young lady…

Kelly: Yeah, it sounds like it in the book. How did your other children respond to [00:21:00] this idea?

What were the wrestlings, what was it that broke through? And I think your son agreed to this. He was really struggling the most.


Debra: the one son we’re talking about, I have two sons and four daughters. Our oldest son and daughter. One was, the son was already in the military in the Air Force.

The oldest daughter was in college at this time. So we of course talked to them about it. They both said, yes, , we can support that decision. They’re really not in the home, anymore either. But they said yes, and they understood. Then one of my other daughters that was at home is totally a baby fanatic and she was just overjoyed and excited about the idea.

The other daughter wrestled with it. She agreed, but she wrestled with it because she did then and still does have a serious bitterness toward this woman. And what she did, she, you know my, that particular daughter does not see that she deserves any forgiveness, even though we know none of us deserve the forgiveness.

But she still [00:22:00] wrestles with that. And so the baby is sort of a reminder of that, but the one son that was still at home and young, very sensitive, he’s very tenderhearted and he was very angry at the mother, but he also wrestled with the fact these children that have been abused and then go back to parents, he just did not understand why they would be allowed to be going back to homes. That would be very abusive to them. So he wrestled with this cuz when we did have to let go of Hannah to go home, cuz the judge, ordered that he was very upset about.

Kelly: That’s a good description, tenderhearted. And that’s how I read that story too, that they’re deep wounds these children experienced in your home as they opened up their home and they loved and trusted and enjoyed these children that were there for so many years. And there were a lot of heartbreaks y’all endured as a family.

The way [00:23:00] your story impacted me was how you honestly wrestled through these situations with the Lord and you told him the truth about what was in your heart, and you listened to what he had to say. You and your husband both together. Went through this in such deep ways, and I think that’s why I was so impacted by it, because it’s similar to our story, wrestling through the things that break our hearts and knowing that God is calling us to walk through it in a way that brings honor and glory to him because he’s writing a much bigger story that will bring glory to his name in ways we can’t even imagine.

Debra: Absolutely.

Kelly: I wondered if you wouldn’t mind jumping to a story that really surprised me. When you were a prison guard, there was this one particular moment where you were in a very dangerous situation where the women were in near Riot chaos, and you were in [00:24:00] a room with all of them and the way you listened to the Holy Spirit through that whole situation

I was just amazed. I would love for you to share that if you don’t mind.

Debra: I reflect back on that and I just have to laugh and chuckle. Now when I look back, at the time it wasn’t quite so funny, but I do find it humorous now. And I was an officer in the jail then in Phoenix and one of the toughest jail systems.
And in this particular dorm there was an officer, a female officer who was. She could be just pretty mean and pretty rough. And there were probably more fights in her dorms than anything else, just because she would stir these women up, and so this one evening when I was working at the jail she had called on the radio that she needed assistance immediately in her dorm.

And these dorms held about, anywhere a hundred, 130 female inmates. So. and they are these metal bunk beds throughout this huge, gigantic cement room. You know, it’s, is the, if you can [00:25:00] get that visual. And so by the time we all got there the lieutenant the sergeant, whatever, and then other officers these women were just yelling, screaming.

They were so mad at this officer for. what she was either doing, she was not being fair to another inmate, something. So the sergeant asked that officer to leave. He told all of the women to get on their bunks and to calm down and then he kind of yelled to them and said They’re gonna have to calm down and they’re gonna lose their visitation rights for the week.

And then he looked at me and said, officer Murky you’re in charge. I want you taking over the dorm for, you know, a while. We’re gonna give that other officer a break. We’re gonna give the dorm a break and you’re in charge. , and I’m like, oh, great, thank you. I gotta have 130 women, which, that’s the way it was.

It was only one officer to the 130. But now I have a whole dorm of women who are just borderline rioting. They are yelling, screaming. They’re mad. And so they’re on their bunks and so, Fortunately, I’d worked there about a year. Many of them knew me and knew [00:26:00] that I was very respectful to them, but I could not get them to calm down.

They were all yelling and mad and screaming and way over what I could even get their attention. So I just started praying because they were, it was elevating after the sergeant left, it was elevating, it was getting really bad again, so I walked right

between the bunks to the women and up to one of ’em and just kind of called her down to her and said, I have something I wanna ask all of you. And it was, I knew that was the Lord. It wasn’t something I wanted to tell them. They didn’t wanna hear anybody telling them anything. So the Lord just had me say, you’re gonna ask them a question.

But I, I said to this inmate, I’m gonna leave it up to you to start getting these women calmed down. Cause they’ll listen to you as a fellow inmate. Let them know I have something very important to ask them. So slowly, one by one in each bunk, they’re kind of telling each other and they’re starting to calm down.

Now they’re all yelling and screaming, but they’re yelling at each other to be quiet because Officer Moerke has [00:27:00] something. to ask them. The funny part about it was I had no clue what it was. I wanted to ask them… I kept praying As I’m walking, I was walking in between the bunks and looking at the women and trying to calm them down.

But in my heart, I’m thinking in my mind, I have no clue. I’m gonna ask them. And I thought, Lord, You know, if I get them calmed down, they’re gonna be really mad at me if I really don’t have something. So I, it went on and on until I was almost at a panic mode and I went and sat on one of the metal tables and finally I got ’em all quiet and they all said, okay, officer Murky, what is it you wanna ask us?

And I kid you not, it was, the words came outta my mouth right then and I said, how many of you in this dorm are mothers? And it totally. , you could have heard a pin drop. Suddenly the whole room was silent. And I’m thinking in my head, that’s the question, you know, I’m [00:28:00] arguing with God again. This is the question, what are you gonna do with that?

And all these women, one by one, started raising their hands. And so I got off the table, I started walking among them, and the Lord just gave me the words; you know, if your kids, whether they’re little or they’re adults today, were to walk by this dorm and see the way that you are acting, what would they think?

How would you be demonstrating, how to behave to your children today? And I said, you women have got to not let another officer or another. influence you in a way that’s going to cause you to be out of control and in trouble. And I just encouraged them. So I told ’em all to take a great big, breath, let it out and cool off.

And then they started laughing and then they started talking and then the other officer came back and I stepped outgoing, well, I hope they stay calm. But it was the most incredible thing cuz it. , it really [00:29:00] got to be a scary situation cuz I’m looking at the cement and the metal that’s in this dorm thinking that’s really gonna hurt if I get slammed up against any of it,
and that could have been a really, a very real thing.

Kelly: Yeah. But as I am just feeling the tension of that story unfold and you were so scared on the inside, but yet portraying a very calm. Exterior and just sitting on the table, swinging your legs back and forth, waiting for them to calm down and praying.


Yes. That was a very crazy story. But you know, it’s those situations and throughout this whole story where when we talk about these trials that we go through and these tough things and these scary things and things that when we’re outta control and we have no authority, all these things we’re sharing.

Those are the things that when we depend on God, and that’s what I learned, is that when we say yes to him and we depend on him through them and just say, I don’t what this is gonna look like on the other side, [00:30:00] but I’m trusting you, God. He grows us in a way beyond what we could ever imagine.

He gives us an insight and an understanding and a, I think a maturity, in him, just as the book of James talks just all about, , as you persevere, you will grow and you will mature and you will become complete. And, I saw that through much of this story how God really grew me.

He grew me to trust him and that to not hesitate to say yes to him because what he has for us on the other side is beyond what we can understand.

Kelly: As you look back over this story and you look at the ways God has used it, how would you describe the ways God has brought beauty out of this story of so much devastation?

Debra: I know this may sound like a strange comparison, but, Christ died so that we could live, and I’m thinking little Hannah died. But many people came to Christ through that. It’s our loss that we, that she was murdered [00:31:00] and this little five-year-old girl was very sad.

And yet, if we let those terrible situations, if we turn ’em over to God, then we can see the beauty out of that sorrow, out of that grieving that ashes. So one thing is that, her mother came to Christ. , her mother is involved with devotionals and bible studies in prison and ministers to other women.

Now, when I went to write this book one of my greatest supporters was that mother. And. She, it took almost 14 years, but then she came to me and just said to me one time when I visited, she goes, I’ve asked God for forgiveness.

I’ve asked Hannah for forgiveness. And I said, do you believe that they have forgiven you? And she said, yes. And she goes, but there’s one person I haven’t asked for forgiveness yet. And I said, who’s that? And she said, you. So when people think of forgiveness,

that wasn’t overnight. We’re talking years, of healing and forgiveness. So I see how her story is affected. I think other women, she has shared it also in prison with [00:32:00] other women. The child that we adopted and loved and raised Is married and has two children of her own today.

She’s our youngest daughter. She and her husband are both Christians. And they love the Lord and raising their children to know the Lord. And I’ve just seen how, this very sad story, but how God used it and what he did through it has affected many people’s lives for good. I’ve had I get emails and people on my website and letters, that just of people saying, with the issue of forgiveness and redemption and grace that this story has maybe changed their lives because they may have had a circumstance in their own life that they were wrestling with and that the story helped them to walk through that with God.

And so they’re not walking in bitterness anymore and unforgiveness that they’re walking free with Christ. So these are the kind of things that, God brings good out of bad and evil. He… But again, if we say yes to [00:33:00] him,, he can use this. And the thing I learned also is that if we don’t say yes to him, somebody else will.

So somebody else will be able to get the blessing and the benefit of what God has for them. And I’ve thought I’ve learned now my lesson. I don’t wanna deny myself, that blessing and that growth that God has.

Kelly: Wow, that’s so powerful. Carol Kent writes the forward to your book, and one of the phrases she uses is fierce forgiveness, and that’s what this is.

And one of the points that you just made, which I think is so important for people to understand, is that forgiveness is a process. It, like you said, takes years and you can forgive on one level, but then you have to go maybe a hundred levels deeper. to get to the very bottom of complete forgiveness. So you kept engaging in that struggle, and that is very clear.

Debra: I did. And the other thing is that our, my pastor, he asked me to speak at one Christmas, about a year [00:34:00] ago, about forgiveness, because that’s really when I go to speak, I do public speaking, and when I speak on grace, forgiveness, and redemption.

and especially grace. , but he was saying to me, he asked the question, in front of the congregation there, so how did you work through forgiveness? And I said, that was something I had to really pray and ask the Lord.

And at least this is my what has helped me to understand it. God commands us to forgive. And I thought, but that’s so difficult… If we look at the soul being made up of the mind will and emotion, we’ve kind of labelled it that way, that we might read about that. That it’s the made up of the mind will and emotion.

I, I started thinking if my mind is trying to reason to forgive, my mind can talk me out of forgiving. Cuz my mind can justify myself, and, our mind can do all kinds of things. Yes, there’s a decision-making there, but if I’m going to reason out why I should forgive, that’s not gonna work for me.

If it’s my emotion or emotions take off, with this without much [00:35:00] control up than the times. If I had to depend on my emotions to forgive somebody I can’t depend on my emotions because my emotions, again, we’ll go haywire, that leaves my will. And it’s just like as Christ said, you know, thy will not mine be done.

I suddenly realized it’s my will that has to make a decision to forgive. And it’s not because of the reasoning. It’s not. Cuz my mind has reasoned why I should, and it’s not because my emotions feel good about it. It has to be left for my will. It has to simply be as God says, you make the decision, you make the choice.

Once you make the choice and say, yes, I will choose to forgive this person. Then the emotions, then the other things, they’ll come later. Then God shows you. , the benefits and blessings that come behind that. But it’s just like the Jordan, you know, you gotta put your toe in first to see God work. And I believe he’s saying you have to make your will, has to choose to forgive first.

Then you will see the blessings, then you will see the good that comes from it. [00:36:00] But I just learned it’s not based on our reasoning or emotions. It’s gotta be based on our will and our will choose to do what God is commanding us to do. Yes.

Kelly: That reminds me so much of when Cory Ten Boom came face to face with the prison guard at one of the concentration camps in Germany.

She had just preached a sermon about forgiveness and he asked. For her to forgive him, she recognized him as one of the guards who caused her sister’s death. And so she prayed that God would help her. It wasn’t until she extended her hand in obedience to the Lord and he shook her hand that the emotions of God’s love and forgiveness actually flowed through her.

Debra: That’s right. Absolutely. Such a great demonstration… Yeah.

Kelly: Thank you so much for all that you’ve shared. You mentioned your ministry of speaking and I know you’re writing a second [00:37:00] book and you’re involved in many many other ministries. So how can people connect with you?

You can find me on my website, which is Deborah murky.com, and that’s D E B R A M O E R K E.

So it’s debramoerky.com I do love to do speaking as well. I love speaking on grace. I have a lot of fun.

I like to share funny stories to get audiences to laugh, but also tender stories that will reach the heart and soul. , but my main speaking is about grace and talking about forgiveness and redemption. I’m going to in March to Iowa to be speaking also at a pregnancy resource center banquet there. And their title is called Unpacking Grace.

Kelly: Oh, I love that.

Debra: So that’s gonna be wonderful.

Kelly: Thank you so much for the gift of your time and also all the hard work and gut-wrenching work that you put into writing this book. It is [00:38:00] blessing so many people. Thank you for being here today.

Debra: Thank you for inviting me, Kelly. It’s been a pleasure and a blessing. Thank you. Thank you.

Kelly: Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave a review. To continue the conversation and for free resources, be sure to visit me@kellyhall.org. Thanks so much.

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