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THE INCREASE: Charles Tillman - Fish and Loaves

It was May 28, 2008. I was at football practice in Chicago, and my head coach, Lovie Smith, walked at a faster-than-normal pace toward me. The look on his face was serious and somber. I’ll never forget his words.

“Charles. They’re rushing your daughter to the hospital. You need to go.”

Those words set in motion the most challenging season of my life. My 3-month-old daughter was not only sick, but on the verge of dying.

Months later, through pain and sleepless nights and praying, the doctors were able to give Tiana exactly what she needed – a new heart. But she’s not the only one who was given a new heart.

My wife, Jackie, and I experienced a complete transformation in our own hearts. This was our fish and loaves moment.

It’s easy for any of us to pursue the miracle. That’s a normal thing to do. But the miracle is never about the miracle. It’s about the miracle Giver. It’s about His identity, His sovereignty, and ultimately about giving us a picture of things to come – a vision of life when all will be made new.

And as time passes, and as my daughter grows into a beautiful young woman, I realize just how much of a miracle God gave my family – not so that we’d stop with the miracle itself, but so that we’d give honor and glory and awe to the miracle Giver, and then proclaim Him to the world.

I’ve told my complete story at The Increase. You can hear me talk about how we almost lost my daughter, Tiana, and about how God met my family through our very own fish and loaves moment.

— Charles Tillman, former NFL cornerback

Watch Charles Tillman tell his Increase Story:

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.