I recently used that phrase to describe Vera--a trophy of God's grace--and I could tell that not everyone understood what I meant, so I'll try and explain.
Vera is a difficult child. She does what she wants to do. She has the classic Down syndrome stubborn streak. She only wants to wear boy clothes--her brother Alex's clothes. She sneaks into his room to steal his clothes or raids his clean clothes pile in the laundry room if he hasn't been quick to take it to his room. She has a very hard time apologizing, particularly when people have yelled at her. She growls at me when she's mad but can't express why. She treats her aunt's home next door as a free DVD rental shop with no return policy. She won't eat a normal breakfast. She's been known to hoard pens. She demands sodas several times a day. She never wants to leave certain places and she'll literally dig in her heels to avoid it.
I love that girl.
Fully, deeply, in every part of my heart, I love that girl. Would my life be easier without her in it? I suppose so, but it is such a horrifying thought that I honestly can't even bring myself to imagine it. She has stretched me, stretched us, to go beyond our narrow little suburban existence and embrace difficulty along with the pure joy she brings into our lives.
Pure joy? Yes! It is a joy to have witnessed her develop into our daughter, to trust us, to learn to love us back. It is a joy to have her walk up to me, kneel down on one knee, grab my hand and kiss it with a flourish! It is a joy to watch her dance with Emma, even if she is pretending to be the boy! It is a joy to watch her learn to read, not to mention speak! It is a joy to watch her compete in sports. It is a joy to hear her sing her favorite hymns. It is a joy to see her overcome some of her stubbornness. It is a sublime joy to know she is not in a mental institution dying a slow, painful death but in a home that seeks to be a part of showing her the way to life eternal.
She is a joy because she is my daughter!
Veronika literally means: true representation of God. Is Vera herself a true representation of God? Not at all, but I feel like she shows us a beautiful picture of God.
We are all difficult children of a loving God. We all do what we want to do. We all have a classic human stubborn streak. We all demand our own way and have a terrible time apologizing. And much like Vera and the sodas, our god is our stomach.
Philippians 3:19--Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
Lately Vera has been having an especially rough time, likely due to those pre-teen hormones raging through her. However, I also maintain that she still has a lot of orphanage left in her. I see that in me, too. I wasn't in an orphanage, of course, but I haven't always considered myself a true child of God. I haven't always truly believed I was His child, a joint heir with Christ.
But I am. And despite all my shortcomings, despite acting like an attachment-disordered child of God, He takes joy in me. I am a joy because I am His daughter.
When I look at my precious Vera, that's what I see: a constant reminder, a trophy, if you will, of God's grace.
Romans 5:20b-21--But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.