Walking Through the Valley
Storyteller: Dorie Knaub
Storyteller: Jeanie Bream
God took Dorie Knaub home on March 2, 2020. In the six years we were friends, I came to know her well. What I knew best about her was how much she loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him by telling others of His love. Her mission was to introduce everyone she could to this Savior she loved so much. She once told me she began her day asking God to use her, to bring her people she could share Him with and encourage. Dorie walked, talked and lived Jesus.
When I met Dorie, she had been battling metastasized breast cancer for seven years. Her fight had included many procedures, surgeries, treatments and a great deal of suffering. When she learned in January of 2020 that further treatment would not benefit her and hospice was in her near future, her main disappointment was that leaving this world would mean she had to stop serving her Lord at the senior facility where she lived. She told me she felt she still had lots of work to do there and wanted to see many more residents give their lives to Christ.
Sisterly Love and Encouragement
Although Dorie was one of seven children, at the time of her passing she had no siblings left, and no family in state. Of her siblings, three were stillborn or died shortly after birth. All were afflicted with muscular dystrophy and all died from the disease. Dorie was the one who did not have symptoms but she was a carrier of the gene. Because of the risk, she had no children. The special needs kids that she taught for many years were her "family." Her own bad health forced her to retire early, leaving behind the kids that meant so much to her. She continued to get sicker, but to redirect her focus from herself, she began caring for a teacher friend. Providing that care gave her purpose. When her friend passed away, she felt lost as she continued to have ill health herself.
As she trusted me more, she told me she loved the Lord and trusted His plan, but she was lonely, sad and afraid of dying alone. I began going with her to every doctor's appointment and procedure so she had company. Though I witnessed her personal sadness, I also saw how she reached out with kindness and encouragement to all we met when we were out. She was filled with Jesus' heart toward others.
The night before one doctor's appointment, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to take Dorie on a tour of an assisted living facility after her next doctor's appointment. The doctor visit did not go well. Dorie received news that her cancer had advanced to stage 4. I tried to reason with God that it was not the best time to stop in for an unscheduled tour, but I felt like He said, "Today is the perfect time." Dorie was confused why we were touring , and all I could say was, "It is what God told me we need to do." That was the beginning of Dorie's move from her mobile home, where she lived alone, into a senior living environment where she would be surrounded by others who would love her.
As soon as it could all be arranged, Dorie moved into her new apartment at Vivante in Costa Mesa. She loved her new home. Her loneliness disappeared because of the friends she made immediately. In that environment there was always something to look forward to, including the Bible Study that she helped to build. There were many there who did not have Christ in their lives and she shared the love of Christ with them.
As they came to know Dorie, several residents questioned if she was really sick. They told her she did not have the attitude of a woman who was fighting terminal cancer and they did not understand why she was so happy. She would boldly tell them it was the strength and love of her Savior that put a smile on her face and hope in her heart. She took on building relationships with the "kids" who worked at the facility. As she interacted with them, she was an encouragement to those young staff members She knew every name and took time to learn about them individually. I witnessed the love they had for her as a result of her kindness and friendship. She told me having these younger people in her life filled some of the void she felt from leaving teaching before she was ready. It was God's sweet gift to her. What a blessing for her and for those around her when God changed her home and took her sadness and loneliness away and redirected her heart and energy to a place where she touched lives.
I saw her in action at Vivante. She shared about her Savior's love and how He loved everyone and wanted each one of us to be His child. When she learned of a Bible Study that was not well attended, she encouraged residents to go with her and soon the attendance increased from 3 to 23. With help from CrossPoint Church, she made sure everyone in the class had their own Bible – many of whom had never owned a Bible before.
Eventually Dorie's suffering with cancer would become very evident to the residents around her, but also evident was her love and commitment to God, which only grew stronger. When she passed, the "kids" in the kitchen wept openly. I was there as devoted caregivers and a few residents came to her apartment to say goodbye. Her demonstration of love for others and for Jesus had made a difference with many. He used her faithfulness to show others the strength God gives to those who love Him and trust Him.
A few days after her passing, the administrator of events at Vivante ( who is also a Christian) showed me a sign she had created in memory of our friend. It contained Dorie's picture and the question, "What would Dorie do?" Dorie would have been honored to know that she was seen as an example you could pattern your life after – a life that was modeled after what she knew to be true about the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Dorie's life verse, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, advises, 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. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Toward the end when her struggle was very difficult, she never wavered in her faithfulness. Until her last breath, she was an example of trusting in her Lord. All those who came near her saw the strength God provided to her. Dorie was his disciple until her last breath.
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