Our Stories

From surface-level transactional relationships to experiencing deep authentic love.

Intrigued by the culture, I immersed myself in the college lifestyle. I was there to become valuable and enjoy the ride. I studied hard, partied harder, and built some of the closest friendships of my life. I soaked in the thrill of the substances and the ecstasy of one-night stands. I chased our culture's utopia and tasted its promise of happiness and purpose. But that’s all it was, a brief and fleeting taste. A fading memory. Every relationship felt like another transaction. Then I’d wake up again and again with the same question pounding in my head, was this all there was? I felt like I bought the culture’s lust believing it was love. I often wondered if relationships could ever be built on something lasting.

Around this time, I met some guys unlike anyone I had ever met. They talked of love unlike anything I have ever heard and the craziest part was how they lived it out. They'd say "Love sacrifices itself for another, not expecting anything in return. Love does and says what’s best for another even when it hurts and is committed to fully knowing and accepting another despite their flaws." I found this was the essence that all their relationships were built. The more I hung around, the more I experienced it. The most surprising part was they all kept accrediting this man they studied.

They told me this man claimed to be the visible image of the invisible God and He showed them the greatest love one could ever experience. With all the power in the universe, He took the form of a man and chose to give His life to save the very people that rejected Him. When I asked, why He would do this; I’ll never forget their answer… “Because as the Creator, Sustainer and Essence of love, that was what love does.” Then it clicked…

I too rejected God and was separated from his love, yet He gave his life for me and the rest of the flawed world… We were created for a relationship with our Maker, the source of love. But until we receive this undeserved and unearned love, we will endlessly be settling for counterfeits. I now see how this is the only lasting thing that relationships were designed to be built upon.

Written by Tommy Stedman. Umass Cru Advisor