I’m going through my second battle with cancer. I had it 18 years ago and then, for whatever reason, I found I have it again.

A friend said to me, “Kay, it is so bad that you had it return.” I wouldn’t say it is bad—it’s hard—but God has blessed me a hundred-fold more than anything I could face in this life. God is my anchor.

For me, my faith [in God] is everything in getting me through this. In Psalms there is a passage that says, “The Lord is the sustainer of my life.” I believe what He says. There is another great verse in Psalms that says, “You have cloaked me with strength for battle.” And my favorite verse is in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I didn’t always have this faith in God. Growing up, I always attended Sunday school and church services. But though I was very active in church-related activities, I did not have a personal relationship with God as my Lord and Savior.

In 1975, I met a Campus Crusade for Christ representative at N.C. State. One day she said to me, “Coach Yow, I know you are a good person, but do you know that being a good person does not get you into Heaven?” That question made me really think deeply. Later, I agreed that she could present the message of Christ to my team following practice. At the end of the presentation, I decided to invite Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Savior and Lord.

As a result of this decision my focus began to change from a reliance on myself to God and a dependency on Him. He changed from “a name to call on” on Sundays to a vital part of my life. I cannot go through a day on my own, I don’t want to. He is my Head Coach. I have that billing of “head coach,” but I know truly who the Head Coach is—of my team at N.C. State, of my life and of everything I do. And what is my mission?

My mission in life is not to win basketball games—but my mission is through basketball to give my best to Him…to do everything I can to glorify and please Him, and not to concentrate on pleasing myself.

Is this easy?

No, but with the Holy Spirit empowerment, and by going to God in prayer, I have that power within me to make the right choices and please God, rather than myself…It is through my faith and trust in Him and His Word [the Bible]. Jesus made many promises and they’re written in God’s Word. That’s true and I know I can depend on what is there [in the Bible].

With my faith, the word “JOY” has always been an acronym, in which “J” is for “Jesus,” “O” is for “Others,” and “Y” is for “Yourself.” If you prioritize things that way, that is how you have real joy. Not just happiness, but joy. That would be the same if I didn’t have cancer and I was just dealing with daily battles.

There are many things in life we can’t control…but with faith in God, we can face all challenges. God uses pain to give us some of our greatest personal growth and triumphs…and gives life meaning and purpose. He is the Head Coach. He has a game plan for my life and for yours.

Click here if you would like to know God personally like Kay.