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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Justin Forsett: Getting Past ‘Can’t’

By Gail Wood
Jan. 29, 2012

Justin Forsett’s life has been filled with “can’t.”

He can’t play major college football — not one Division I school in his home state of Texas offered him a scholarship.

He can’t play in the NFL — he ran 40 yards in 4.6 seconds at a scouting combine, which is slow by NFL standards.

And he can’t stick with the Seattle Seahawks — three veterans were already signed when he tried out for the team his rookie year.

At 5-foot-8, Forsett has been told time and again he was too small and too slow to play football.

“I’ve been told that more times than I can count,” Forsett says. “People have always said what I can’t do. And God is always saying, Listen to what I say. I’ve always been the smallest guy on the field.”

Yet every step of the way, from high school to college to the pros, he’s fooled them.

He fooled them at Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas, rushing for 63 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards in two seasons.

He fooled them at the University of California-Berkeley, where he rushed his senior year for 1,536 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

And fooled them in Seattle, where he’s averaged over 4 yards per carry in three seasons, mostly as a backup tailback.

“I’m not that big,” Forsett says, “but I’ve got a lot of heart.”

Forsett also has a lot of faith. Faith in prayer. Faith in God.

But that faith was tested his senior year in high school. Notre Dame had just withdrawn its football scholarship offer. The only offer he had received in Texas was Abilene Christian, a Division II school. And Abilene’s offer was as a walk-on, not a scholarship.

Frustrated and disappointed, Forsett cried out to God while alone in his basement his senior year in high school.

“I was crying and saying to God, ‘What’s going on? Why is this happening?’” Forsett says. “I was always doing the right thing. I was praying. I was going to church. And it seemed like everyone else was getting a scholarship.”

Two of his high school teammates had gotten scholarships, one to Miami and another to Purdue.

In search of an answer, Forsett opened his Bible.

“[The Lord] showed me Proverbs 3,” Forsett says. “Lean not on your own understanding, but trust in God with all your heart. I said, ‘OK, I’m trusting You.’”

Later that spring, well past the national signing date, Forsett was offered and accepted a scholarship to Cal.

“It was by God’s grace that I was able to get the opportunity and be able to do the things I’m doing,” Forsett says. “I was prepared for the opportunity.”

After the Seahawks drafted Forsett in the seventh round in 2008, he knew he was a long shot to make the team. Three veterans — Julius Jones, Maurice Morris and T.J. Duckett — were already on the roster and had recently signed.

“I had seen all those guys play on TV,” Forsett says. “I knew they only usually keep three running backs. I said, ‘OK God. Here we go. You haven’t failed me yet. So I’m ready.’”

Forsett, impressing the coaches on special teams and with his determined play, made the team. Three years later, Jones, Morris and Duckett are all gone. And Forsett, who now runs 40 yards in 4.4 seconds, is still a Seahawk.

 Forsett, the son of a minister, grew up going to church. But it wasn’t until he was in middle school that he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

“I was always one of those kids trying to fit in at school with how I dressed and how I talked,” Forsett says. “One day after listening to a sermon, I realized that my identity is in Him. I’m a King’s kid. I don’t have to please people. My number one goal is to please Him in all I do.”

Forsett knows the importance of being a seeker, of reading the Bible and praying every day.

“I’m living in an environment where the temptations are everywhere,” Forsett says. “Since you have the flesh and the Spirit battling every day, I’m constantly feeding the Spirit that God’s put in me. So, when I come against temptation, my spirit is strong enough to say, ‘OK, this is not for me,’ and step away.”

Forsett lists a Scripture of the day on his Twitter account.

“I do it because it helps keep me accountable,” Forsett says. “Also, the Bible says that one waters and one plants, but without God there is no increase. [See 1 Corinthians 3:7.] I’m just doing my job and trying to plant a seed. A guy might open up a Bible verse that I’ve put up, and his life could be changed.”

It’s changed Forsett’s life.

GAIL WOOD attends Calvary Chapel (Assembly of God) in Lacey, Wash., and is author of Saved Twice.

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