“Complete in Him” by Marvin Posey, ’91 (It came unnamed, so I named it. )

by Tammy Phillips
July 8, 2021

I was born a creative person. It is part of my DNA and one of my gifts. I love all things creative. I love the fine arts that include painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, lettering, architecture, furniture and interior design, writing, reading, music, theatre and definitely, the culinary arts.

I actually have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from the University of Georgia. When I was in college, my dream was to design furniture in High Point, North Carolina. I allowed fear and insecurity to hold me back. I have always used my artistic abilities, but have not practiced design. Art was my thing; I did not know writing was. I was not a fan of English at all throughout my education. However, over the last ten years, I have found freedom and grown in knowledge through journaling. It is from pain, journaling, and the leading of the Holy Spirit that this blog was born. Artistic expression is my way of caring and sharing with others.

I am so excited to share this encouragement. Because of my love of the arts, on March 20, 2021, Kris and I  attended the Marvin Posey Jr. Scholarship Art Exhibit at Austin Peay, where the proceeds benefited his endowment. Marvin was a world-renowned performance artist who painted to jazz music. His art was fluid and colorful. At the exhibit, there was a silent auction of a few pieces of his art.

Initially, a large 3’x4’ painting, had no takers. I was drawn to its muted magenta colors.  After consulting with my husband, we made the first bid. The museum curator in our town placed the next bid. I waited to the last minutes of the auction to make our best and final bid. Thankfully, the curator conceded.

The masterpiece found a temporary home in our dining room where I sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. It sat there in silence for four days. On the fifth day, it began to speak, and I was amazed. Words paint pictures and pictures paint words. Every day, my hope is to paint you a picture with words. Below are the words that the painting spoke to me as it came alive, as well as partner scriptural inspiration that the Lord has been pouring into me over the last five years.


The woman is obviously walking, and she is clothed in the color of my journal. My journal represents my journey and the directives of the Lord as I walk through life.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV)


She is standing on a rock in the middle of the water. The rock is her salvation and help to get her though the water and safely to the other side.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Ps. 40:1-2 NIV)

“He only is my rock and my salvation; [He is] my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalm 62:2 NKJV)


She is standing in a pool of blue, signifying a river to me.  One of my guiding scriptures:

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)


The trees are upright and planted beside the water in the artwork. The woman is also planted upright and resolutely by the water. When I moved to Clarksville, I had a dream/vision that I was a Cottonwood tree planted by the Cumberland River. Oddly enough, there are Cottonwood trees literally planted by the river downtown.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… 2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law, he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV)

“Blessed [is] the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV)

We receive the living water of the Lord and pray that our fruit and leaves are food and medicine to others.

“Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all [kinds of] trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12 NKJV)


The hills represent the upward journey toward completion in Him. The valleys are the obstacles and detours along the way. Our help and instruction come from hills. Abundance flows from the valleys and the hills of life.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help. 2 My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV)

“You shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;” (Deuteronomy 8:6-7 NKJV)

“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD…He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” (Isaiah 2:3 NKJV)

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth;” (Isaiah 58:14 NKJV)


The woman is symbolic of the love of God, and we are the baby held secure in His loving arms. Like the baby, we are held up by His right hand and, in His embrace, He holds our right hand. We are surrounded by Him.

“You have hedged me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.  10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:5, 10 NKJV)

Fear not, for I [am] with you; Be not dismayed, for I [am] your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand; 13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you; Fear not, I will help you;” (Isaiah 41:10, 13 NKJV)


See the fragmented pieces of color throughout the painting. They represent the broken pieces of our lives that the Lord miraculously picks up, heals, and mends back together.

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NKJV)


The woman is fearlessly standing, upright, plumb, and completely aligned.  She is walking into her responsibility and her destiny. She is not alone the Lord is with her as well as other trees of righteousness. She is doing what she is called to do.

“Arise, for [this] matter [is] your [responsibility]. We also [are] with you. Be of good courage and do [it].” (Ezra 10:4 NKJV)

I enCOURAGE you to meditate on the word of God that the art spoke to me because it is as much for you as it was for me. The painting so beautifully illustrates the life the Lord has gloriously provided for us. So, Arise. Abide. Stand. Continue. Endure. Go forward. Be Upright. Be established. Be fixed. Be RESOLUTE. Flourish. Persevere. Grow Up. Be a woman! Be a man! This matter is your responsibility. We are in this together. Be of good courage. Be strong. Be brave. Do whatever He has called you to do.

*I have since learned that Marvin Posey name the painting, “Autumn Stroll” which I love, too.  Love his interpretation of autumn. 


  1. Oh, Tammy! I am in awe and in tears. Tears of joy, tears of love, tears of respect. I’m absolutely THRILLED that Chico’s painting has found its home!!! There are no words to tell you how much it means to read your words that have come straight from God. Our mutual friend, Patty Downey, sent this piece to me and as always, God’s timing is perfect. You see, my father is at this moment fighting a health battle in Birmingham. I know God sent you and Patty, Earthly Angels, to minister to me at this particular moment in time. Everything is going to be alright and go according to God’s plan. Thank you does not seem to be enough, but it’s all I have right now…so, THANK YOU and may the Lord continue to use you and guide you as you continue this journey called life.🙏🏽💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angela: I am in tears. My heart is full from your kind, kind words. THANK YOU SO much for sharing your heart and your brothers work with us. I love his art and his process…so beautiful. More importantly, we will be praying for your dad and believing with you that everything will be alright! Hugs to you my sweet sister.


      1. God’s, “perfectly planned, pre ordained, message of peace”, for us all. God uses all his tools. My little brother/cousin Chico, continues to speak to us, by using his paintings to speak to our soul. “It endures forever”……

        Liked by 1 person

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