189: Debra Moerke | Murder, Motherhood, Miraculous Grace

Murder, Motherhood, and Foster Care |Debra Moerke

189: Debra Moerke | Murder, Motherhood, Miraculous Grace

Born and raised on the beaches of southern California, Debra Moerke met her husband Al when she moved to Houston, Texas in her mid-20s.

After marrying, the couple moved to Casper, Wyoming where they raised their six children and, over eighteen years, took in more than 140 foster children.

Debra has served as the Director of Women’s and Children’s Ministries of the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, as the Executive Director of a Christian crisis pregnancy and counseling center, as a speaker for Wyoming’s women’s prison, as a jail guard, and as a jail chaplain.

She has spoken at a number of ministry events including as a keynote speaker for women’s retreats and as a Bible study leader.

In 2017, she graduated with a certificate in Christian ministries from Gateway Seminary in California.

Her book, Murder, Motherhood, and Miraculous Grace published by Tyndale in 2019 is the true story of her walk with God through obedience and forgiveness.

Currently, she has started a non-profit and is working on restoring a 1925 historic building that was severely damaged through fire, assisting God in redeeming it
into a beautiful transitional home for single moms.

Debra has worked as an associate real estate broker at Stratton Real Estate for sixteen years. She and Al continue to live in Casper andhave been blessed with nine grandchildren, one who at five years old lost her battle with cancer and live now with Jesus in heaven.

Debra Moerke and Amber discuss the story behind her memoir, Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace. Debra and her husband served as foster parents for a number of children. Through a series of difficult and horrific circumstances, she found herself taking a prison phone call from the birth mother.

Murder, Motherhood,& Miraculous Grace Questions Discussed:

  1. (1:39) Share a little of your faith journey with us.  When did you begin walking with Jesus?
  2. (5:20) You and your husband fostered high risk children for 18 years. Take us back to when you first become foster parents.  What led you to begin fostering and what were those first few years like in your home?
  3. (7:57) The memoir you released in 2019, Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace, shares the portions of your journey with one of your foster children and her mother. Will you share that story with us?
  4. (12:21) What are things that social services can do better, so that things like this don’t happen?
  5. (14:16) What was the impact on your own biological children and your family as a whole?
  6. (15:55) The horrific loss led to a range of emotions, but you were faced with a decision when you received a call from jail.  Share that experience with us and how the grace of God led you to surrender?
  7. (22:10) Was it this experience that led you into prison ministry?  And what were some things you discovered as you began to walk with women in prison, including the birth mom who murdered one of your foster daughters?
  8. (24:02) As God continued to draw you into places that were not easy to walk in, how did you see him really meet you?
  9. (28:20) Have you continued a relationship with Hannah’s mother?
  10. (35:58) Were there times when that was happening that you you doubted?
  11. (40:28) What encouragement, dare I say advice, do you give foster families today?
  12. (44:45) Do you have a relationship with some of the children who came in and out of your home?
  13. (47:37) You have worked for a pregnancy resource center and you have fostered children. What do you see as the potential impacts of Roe vs. Wade being overturned?

Quotes to Remember:

“I love to help and mentor other people, but never really thought of it as fostering. So my husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is something that we could do. We don’t have a lot of money, but we believe that we have a lot of love’.”

“When this little girl would go home to visit she was scared to death because of [the] mother’s abuse.”

“My first reaction was anger. And I started to hang up the phone. It was like between my ear and the wall…I just knew it was the Holy Spirit that said, ‘If she called Jesus, would he take her call?’….I felt like the Lord was saying, ‘You profess to be the hands and mouthpiece and feet of Christ. You need to be His light on the earth. And so what are you going to do?’ And I just knew I could not hang up that phone. So I took her call.”

“It’s through our obedience that His power is released.”

“All the way to the jail I had a stop, I was sobbing, I thought I was going to throw up. I was a mess. When I got to the jail…to the security door just before she was gonna come, God gave me this total peace, He dried my eyes, he gave me a calm spirit.”

“Every time I would go to see her, He would just give me an incredible kind of peace and calmness.”

“After she received the Lord and went to prison and was sentenced, I started sending in Bible studies.”

“I think one of the [toughest] things was recognizing that your own children and family members are against what you’re doing, and for you to still be obedient to the Lord.”

“God gave me the grace to within 24 hours, turn around and show her grace by going to just visit her. Forgiveness didn’t come for years.”

“…explain to your own children that if God is calling us to be a foster family, we aren’t their Savior. But our job is to introduce them to Him.”

Resources Mentioned:

Related Episodes:

I love to help and mentor other people, but never really thought of it as fostering. So my husband and I looked at each other and said, "This is something that we could do. We don't have a lot of money, but we believe that we have a lot of love."
All the way to the jail I had a stop, I was sobbing, I thought I was going to throw up. I was a mess. When I got...to the security door just before she was gonna come, God gave me this total peace, He dried my eyes, he gave me a calm spirit

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