Everybody Loves Ersel

Ersel only 1Nov. 24, 2013

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Familiar with the TV show, “Everybody Loves Raymond?” Rick’s sisters have said that Rick is like Raymond and I am like Debra. (Although I hope I do not yell as much as Debra.) During a sermon series on marriage, I shared this in church. Afterwards, a member commented that if Rick is Raymond and I am Debra, then Rick’s Mom, Ersel, must be Marie! Ersel heard this conversation. She quickly turned around and said, “I am not!” A couple weeks later at our house, she admitted that she could Marie but she didn’t live across the street from us.

While Ersel didn’t live across the street from us, she had many good things that reminded me of Marie Baron. The perfectly coiffed hair. A perfectly accessorized and tasteful outfit. A deep love and concern for her family. As she slipped away from this life and to her eternal home this afternoon, I thought about how everyone in the hospital room loved Ersel, as well as many others who were not present.

I have no awful mother-in-law stories. I have the exact opposite. I have lots of instances and ways Ersel supported, encouraged and loved me. From the time I became her pastor, she was always supportive of my ministry, even as I was learning to be a pastor. She was appreciative when I would host a family gathering or arrange something. She was long on compliments and short on criticism. A few months after Rick and I were married, she thanked me for finally getting Rick to dress, in her words, “decently!”

In a birthday card, she once wrote that I was more like a daughter than a daughter-in-law. She did not have to write this. She told me that she did because she wanted to.

For the last several months, I had the great pleasure of living with Ersel several days a week. In essence, I didn’t move across the street but into her house. While this must have been hard for her, she never made me feel uncomfortable. We developed a mutual respect for each other and our roles.  I had the great pleasure of taking her to appointments, helping her with therapy and trying to find gluten-free recipes that didn’t taste like dry cardboard. Even when a dessert did, she never complained.

This afternoon, our family gathered around her bed, laid hands on her and prayed. Then, Pastor Carol led us in the 23rd Psalm. For the last two days, Ersel’s ability to communicate with us had been limited. As we shared together the words of this psalm, she mouthed most of them. What a precious Christian role model she was to me and the rest of our family until the very end. This is a woman whose goodness and mercy will follow her beyond this life as she dwells in the house of the Lord for eternity.

Lord God, thank you for allowing me to know this great servant of yours, Ersel. I celebrate her life as you welcome her into your kingdom. May the love she has demonstrated to so many people be a significant reminder of why relationships are so important within your kingdom.  Amen.

Blessings –


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8 Replies to “Everybody Loves Ersel”




  2. So sorry to for yours & Ricks loss!! Ersel sounded like a true follower of Christ!! May the Lord fill your thoughts with blessed memories the family has of Ersel. Love, Liz, James & David Deaton


  3. I have many memories of Ersel, , she was always good to me. I spent a few summers at her house.. Best memories of my life, So the best memories, Saying our prayers at bed time. Feeling so good about it. Did not have that kind of family life, Fried chicken after church…My first Barbie … The chickens, the cows, The rides in her nice comfortable car…The church, always smelled so good, and the fact I was IN… I was behind the scenes to see all the closed doors, What was behind them ? Her House…That wonderful great house, The smells of the cows, the chickens, the pasteurization of the milk… The early whispers in the morning as the Men went and did men things., The great food..Ahh The great food, like none Ive ever tasted since. The pigs…suuuueeeewy…the cows Caboss…The hills that made you loose your stomach. .The snow, How we would leave and my parents would not want to pay for a long distance call… So the operator would ring and they knew from code that we made it home safe and sound. Going to Illinois to get Butter, Grandpa would not eat margarine …She was a True Lady.. a very nice genuine person…Rest in peace … Be Happy… Good Job…Your the Best


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