I have been lucky enough this semester to be placed as a Young Life leader for students with disabilities in the Mid Miami Valley. I have always had a huge love for students with disabilities. In high school I loved hanging out with them, I loved getting to know their big hearts, and I loved just being their friend. And now that I am a Young Life leader for these amazing people I am able to connect with them on a deeper level.

I now get to be their friend and get to walk with them on their journeys with Christ. It has been truly the highlight of my semester and probably freshman year of college!

So here are some things I want to say to my amazing friends with special needs,

1. You are not broken in any way.

You guys were made just the way you are by God and, yes, you may have a few more barriers or look different than most people our age, but that does not make you any less of a person.

2. You bring so much joy to the world.

You guys have so much to offer everybody and you have a way of being a light in so many situations thanks to your big hearts.

3. I am sorry if anybody has ever called you the "R" word.

The word "retarded" is toxic and demeaning and should be considered a cuss word. If anybody has ever used that word to describe you, I am deeply, deeply sorry. You are so much more than that.

4. You are SO loved.

There are so many people on this Earth that love and adore you guys, so never ever be discouraged if there are some people that just don't see how great you are. I love you and God loves you so much and more than anyone on this Earth ever could.

5. I see Christ in you more than anyone else.

You guys have a way of carrying yourselves that shows love to all people and you have a way of finding so much happiness in the little things.

I love my friends with disabilities so much and I am so proud to be their friend. They have more barriers to living a normal life than your average person, but it makes them stronger and they are not in any way less human than the rest of us. They inspire me every day and being their friend has truly been a privilege.

Song of the week: "Cry Pretty" - Carrie Underwood