Daily, she faces obstacles that you and I never will, even at our worst moments. Often bed-bound, breathless, wrestling with discomfort and pain, she faces life with a courage and an incandescent faith beyond what most can even imagine.
This is Rachel Lundy,
and her story of unfaltering hope in the broken places.
In our early twenties, we are filled with dreams. Our lives as adults are beginning, and the wild possibilities of God’s plans for us are as wide as the endless blue sky. It is in those years that we strike out, forging the paths we’ve carved out in our dreams with grit and abandon. For many, this time is a highlight in our lives. But for Rachel Lundy, a young lady with remarkable zeal for living and a budding marriage, those years were a time of disorientation and tumult.
Over the slow and perplexing years, her health began to decline in unusual ways for a woman of her age. When the severity of her condition became apparent, Rachel knew that her life would change in drastic and alarming ways. She notes:
“When I began to realize that life wasn’t going to go back to the way it had been when I was 21, I was sad, but not despairing. I remember being so thankful for everything I had had the opportunity to do in the first 23 years of my life – swimming, figure skating, hiking, climbing, rappelling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, theater, choir, traveling to Germany, Austria, and Mexico, working at summer camps, living in Alaska, and doing children’s ministry. I had had a full and happy life. It was time for me to slow down. I could no longer do any of those big activities that I had done previously, but I had a deep down peace about it. It was okay. God was in control and I trusted Him.
That doesn’t mean that it was easy, however. I did wish that I had my energy back, and I struggled to figure out how to live well within my new limitations. I had to learn to be content with my circumstances.”
Rachel suffers from dysautonomia, a condition of the nervous system that undermines the function of her heart rate, circulation, temperature regulation, blood pressure, sensory perception, and digestion, among others. Specifically, she is afflicted with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which prohibits her body from adjusting properly when she stands up. If she is upright for more than a few minutes, blood pools in her feet and legs – which, if she stands for long, causes unbearable pain. She is unable to be outdoors in warmer months without the aid of a cooling vest.
She is often unable to play with her children, cannot manage her home, and is in a state of flux, adjusting to the twists and turns of life with such an illness. As this wave of physical suffering has washed over Rachel, it has pulled her farther from the shores of the life she had known – and the life she planned to live – with each passing year.
But suffering is a distant undertone of Rachel’s blog, Cranberry Tea Time. Upon clicking over, the reader arrives in a calming place, permeated by positivity and joy. One finds anecdotes about the milestones and accomplishments of children, and enjoyment of family life. There is a sweetness in this space. And just under the header, there is a tab labeled “Hope and Joy.”
On this page, Rachel shares the hope she has, and the source of the incredible joy in her life: which is, of course rooted in the gospel. However, she never shies away from discussing her physical condition in her writing. She discusses joy in suffering, longing for heaven, – and woven throughout is an unshakable sense of true, steadfast hope, shimmering through her words.
Her heart, full of the promises of God, breaks for others suffering with chronic illnesses who live in bleak and grief-stricken despair. Of her writing, she says,
“The primary reason I began blogging was to share the Gospel with others who suffered from chronic illnesses and didn’t know Jesus. The “Hope and Joy” page was created for them. I wanted them to have the same hope that I have. I wanted them to know Jesus, the joy they can have in life because of Him, and the future joy that awaits believers in Heaven.”
In the signature of her email, she has placed this verse:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
How many of us would have the strength to believe this, whole hardheartedly, day in and day out?
Her hope is remarkable and inspiring: her faith precious and strong.
Rachel is more than a valued member of the Allume community – she is a fine example of trust in God’s sovereignty, provision, and love for His children. Without a doubt, she shines with the radiance of hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ…
and inspires others to do the same.
We believe that every woman in the Allume community has a story worth telling – a story worth hearing. That the Cliff Notes are wonderful, written from her heart and lovingly offered to us, but also, that the story God has given her to live and tell is gritty and arresting and complex and amazing – just as she is. Each month, we share such a story. We trace a cover with our fingers, smell the glue of the binding, hear the crinkle of pages turn as a brave and beautiful woman unclasps her heart and un-shelves a volume of her life.