Hi there – and how utterly charming to meet with you!
My name is Tanya Marlow, and I’m channelling my inner Jane Austen as I invite you to sit with me, take a sip of your favourite hot beverage, and get to know a little about me.
Bio in brief:
Tanya Marlow is a writer, author, campaigner and broadcaster. Formerly a lecturer in biblical theology, with a decade of experience in Christian ministry, she has been published by The Spectator, Relevant, Premier Christianity magazine and others. She admits to a weakness for karaoke, sunny days and laughing at her own jokes. You can find her in a vicarage in Devon, England with her husband and bouncy son, or writing honestly about finding God in hard places and the messy edges of life at www.tanyamarlow.com.
She is co-author of Soul Bare – ed. Cara Sexton (IVP USA, 2016) alongside Seth Haines, Sarah Bessey, Emily P Freeman and more. Her first book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty (2015), intertwines her own story with the biblical book of Ruth, offering a path back to God after disappointment and loss. (Get it for FREE here).
What do I write about?
My writing covers a whole host of topics, but mainly circles around the spirituality of suffering:
- How do we relate to God when hard times come?
- What if God doesn’t feel near?
- Where can God be found?
- What if we are plagued with doubt?
- How does it really feel to have chronic illness?
- Where does the church fit in?
- What if we find ourselves in a wilderness or limbo state?
I have a background in theology and ministry, but I like to tackle these topics creatively, interweaving story and metaphor with spiritual truth, so that the truth comes alongside rather than KER-BLAM in your face. I love exploring the Bible so it gets under your skin, ministers to your spirit, and leads you to Jesus.
I believe that vulnerability is a way to unlock courage in other people, so I write honestly about my life and weaknesses.
I dabble in feisty social justice, especially M.E. advocacy, rights for disabled people, and feminism.
This is a space for people who feel like they don’t belong. It is a place for doubters, lamenters, broken, disappointed, wobbly or lost – those who have seen the muck and of life and somehow still seek gold therein. This blog is for cynics and hopers, word-lovers and God-seekers. (I also habitually recommend good books and am occasionally hilariously funny*.) You are welcome here, and I’d love to get to know you more.
*honestly, I am.
More About Me
Author, Writer, Broadcaster, Campaigner:
- I am the author of Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty – Whispers of Restoration from the Book of Ruth, intertwining my own journey with the book of Ruth. See more here.
- I am a contributor to the book Soul Bare – ed. Cara Sexton (forthcoming, IVP (USA), Aug 2016)
- I write regularly for online magazines She Loves Magazine, and Mudroom (USA and worldwide). I have also written for The Spectator, Relevant Magazine.com (USA), Premier Christianity Magazine (UK), Threads (UK), and BigBible.
- I am a broadcaster who has been featured in BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Devon, and UK’s Premier Christian Radio (audio), and Big Bible Project, BBC Spotlight, Change for ME documentary (video).
- I am the founder of Compassionate Britain, a grassroots campaigning organisation that unites Christians to speak up for disabled people against the government cuts affecting their essential support. I also campaign for better treatment and funding for M.E. patients with ME Action Network.
- I was formerly a lecturer in Biblical Theology, and Associate Director for the Peninsula Gospel Partnership Training Course (accredited by St Mark and St John University, Plymouth, UK)
- I have had ten years’ experience as a Christian minister in both church and student ministry, and have been a speaker and preacher at national Christian conferences. I hold a post-graduate qualification in pastoral counselling.
- In 2007, I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a debilitating chronic autoimmune neurological disease, which affects my mobility and energy, and comes with a plethora of annoying symptoms. You can read more about it here.
- In 2010, my world changed when I gave birth and my M.E. tipped over into ‘severe M.E.’ Since then I have been housebound, needing to spend approximately 21 hours per day in bed, only able to leave the house once or twice a month for a brief trip out in my wheelchair. I now measure out my life in teaspoons. I need to rest much of the day, and have to strictly ration my time talking with friends, writing, or playing with my son.
- In 2014 I was also diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which means my body does not enjoy being upright, and my heart goes crazy when I stand up.
- Living with chronic illness has shaped and refined my theology, and made me passionate about justice for marginalised people. You can read more about my response to this in Why Thorns and Gold?
- I have an amazing husband who is a vicar (church minister) in the Church of England, and we live by the sea in Devon, UK. (NB the picture above is NOT Devon. It’s Greece…) He’s an artist, scholar, wine connoisseur, preacher-man and organiser of legendary kids’ parties. He blogs sporadically here.
- We have a small-but-loud golden-haired son whose company we enjoy immensely. To protect him from future teenage friends googling his name and finding out all the cute things he did as a toddler, I refer to him online as ‘boy’.
Wanna know even more about me? Click on my More About Me page for some fun facts.
But enough about me – what about you? Please do introduce yourself, say, hi, interact and leave a comment, tell me your story – I’d love to hear it.
Wanna keep in touch? Please do! The best way is to subscribe to my blog (unsubscribe at any time). Just enter your email below and get your book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty, for FREE: