About Me

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.




Writer, author, broadcaster, campaigner:

Published books Tanya Collage


  • 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 campaign for disability rights and better treatment and funding for M.E. patients. 


Background – Christian ministry; university-level lecturing: 

  • 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, pastoral counsellor and student worker, and have been a speaker and preacher at Spring Harvest and New Word Alive.

Birthday Trip out of the house

My health:

  • 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?



My family:

  • 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, wine connoisseur, preacher-man and organiser of legendary kids’ parties, and 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’.

My passions:

  • writing honestly about suffering, doubt and searching for God
  • connecting the emotional with the spiritual, and vice versa
  • teaching the Bible so that it gets under your skin, ministers to your spirit and leads you to Jesus
  • social justice, especially feminism and rights for disabled people

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? Subscribe to my blog by typing your email below and receive my book for FREE:

143 Responses to About Me

  1. Jen 18th November, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    thank you so much for this blog, God has blessed you with such gifts and you are using them to serve Him & others.
    Finding your blog today is an amazing gift from God to me. I’ve had ME for nearly 12 years and have just had 2 beautiful twin girls 3 months ago – what a huge learning curve!!! I’ve had a tough week as am coming down with a cold which scares me silly because I’m just about staying stable at the moment & the thought of a relapse just fills me with so much fear for my girls, my husband and me. I really struggle to trust God amidst it all & just want to be in control of everything! (I think he might be trying to teach me something, don’t you!?!). We’ve also had immunisations, an A&E trip with 1 of the girls, a number of falls and a scalding for me (I’m very accident prone with my ME – my body just doesn’t do what my brain asks it to!), and another run in with an unsympathetic & unhelpful GP, as well as trying to deal with the ongoing struggle with ME – phew!
    It’s so good to see from your list of ME related links that you don’t think it’s psychological. Again, a real provision from God as at the moment i’m really finding the lack of understanding and trivialisation of ME by so many, extremely painful & it’s so good to have God say, ‘not me, I know the truth’
    I feel like I could go on & on and I don’t want to do that, but just to say, thank you again and I Praise God for you. I will be an avid follower!
    xx Jen

    • Tanya 21st November, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Hey there – I’m SO glad you found me! Thanks very much for saying hi – it’s good to hear of someone else who is going through M.E. and motherhood. In a way I envy you for having 2 at once, but in another way I’m completely daunted by your double whammy: twins is a challenge and M.E. is a challenge… To have them both is quite a combination!

      I think one of the hardest things about having M.E is that lack of understanding and compassion from many, especially the medical community. It can feel so abusive, and can prompt you to question yourself over and over, so fruitlessly. I am so heartened to hear that this blog is an encouragement. It means a lot.

      Please do stay in touch with the comments/Facebook etc – looking forward to getting to know you. Xx

      • Jen 22nd November, 2012 at 1:45 am #

        You’re so right about twins being a blessing and a challange – we didn’t know if we should or could have a baby at all, to have more than one seemed an impossibility given our circumstances – I can’t imagine how I could manage the demands of pregnancy whilst also caring for a little one. Plus I have reduced fertility (apparently!!!). In many ways it seemed unwise to consider having a family at all, and yet God turned our wisdom on it’s head & gave us twins!
        It is such hard work, physically as well as in every other way, and the fear of relapse is always there. It really seems crazy that God did this!
        And yet it is a blessing and provision in so many unexpected ways – two children when we thought we might have none; only one difficult and dangerous pregnancy and birth; the special relationship the girls will have with their dad & grandma because they are so much more involved in caring for them than they would be if I were well and had a singleton; the extra help and support we’ve received because nobody expects you to cope with twins without help! And so many more incredible ways that God has blessed and provided for us through what seemed to many to be utter foolishness!
        And yet it is overwhelming, and frightening and such hard work. And I know that my health may ultimately be damaged, but even in that God blesses us as we are forced to rely on him so much more than we are comfortable with, or want to. And He proves time and again to be trustworthy beyond that which my faithless heart could ever dare to believe.
        How kind is our Lord that He is teaching me hard lessons, not through grief or loss or deprivation, but through the amazing gift of two beautiful little girls?!
        oooooooh I want to go & squeeze them because they’re so scrummy, but I can’t because they’re sleeping & it would be mean!! 🙂 xx

        • Tanya 22nd November, 2012 at 10:33 am #

          Oh – I so know this feeling – of it being overwhelming but also such a miraculous privilege and blessing (and wanting to squeeze the scrummy babies!)

          We found things a lot less overwhelming when we got a nanny in for the mornings – it made a big difference. At the time it felt like a massive compromise and even failure on my part, but now I look back and cannot imagine what the problem was – it worked out so well. And my boy is no less devoted to his Mum and Dad, and he is happy and content and well-looked after.

          Praying that you manage the tightrope, and have support and safety nets when it all gets too much… Keep me posted! Xx

    • Kirsten 2nd March, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

      Hi Tanya

      What a good idea to collect women speakers. I noticed while searching there were a lot in America. I was look for good ideas and speakers for a women’s retreat at our church. Hence I found your blog.
      I am Church of England, but go to a Lutheran Church in Oslo Norway. I did have epilepsy for 32 years, but after an operation, nearly 20 years ago, I do not have it now. WIth a lot of prayer before and after there removed the damaged part of my brain.
      Now my life is transformed completely. I have two boys 17 and 11 and husband who works in the oil industry here in Oslo.

      • Tanya 11th March, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

        Kirsten – how lovely to meet you! I’m so glad you found your way to my blog. It’s amazing to hear that your epilepsy no longer affects you! I think this is perhaps the first time I have heard someone hear they were healed from epilepsy – so encouraging. I hope you find a wonderful speaker for your church retreat. I only know one other person in Norway, let alone any speakers, so I’m afraid I can’t recommend anyone local! Hope you find someone who really suits your congregation.

    • Pauline 5th March, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

      Hi tanya hope u got my message as new to this tecnology.i understand your anger over the dwp.they need get scroungers off p.i.p and help us genuine people.that live up drs and hospitals.people brag to us theyv got busspasses and go on holidays etc.hope dwp sort them out.my nieghbour thinks same as hes got hospital appts etc.we r the ones that suffer.

  2. Mark Allman 3rd November, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    You are the first writer that has asked that their readers introduce themselves. I like that idea. If I ever blog I will do the same. I am a civil engineer (VA Tech) and I currently work for a company in its environmental department. I live in a rural town in Virginia USA. My wife Dreama and I have three children: Jessi who teaches math in middle school; a son Levi who is in school to pursue something in the medical field, and our youngest Esther is in school as well to become a science teacher. I love to read; love science fiction, love sports. I taught my kids skills to play sports and they all excelled. I enjoy carpentry work as well. My favorite authors would be James Rollins, Steve Berry, Michael Crichton, and Margaret Weis. I do enjoy reading history as well.

    I enjoy reading your insightful wisdom.

    A couple of my most favorite quotes are:

    “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Kahil Gabran

    “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.” Bruce Barton

    • Tanya 5th November, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Thank you so much for this, mark! It is really nice to get to know you a little better. Your family sound really sciencey – respect! My husband trained as an engineer back in the day, and I really appreciate the logic and sensible-ness of his decision-making ability! Thanks for taking the time to tell me more about yourself.

  3. Liz Eph 26th October, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Hiya Tanya, a friend Joanna in Latvia recommenced me to come and have a looksy here. i’m looking forward to following your blog. our ME journey has been on the go since 1996. but through it all God has been absolutely utterly 100% faithful. xx Liz xx

    • Tanya 29th October, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello! I really appreciate it – it’s great to know that there are others out there on a similar journey. Much love!

  4. Peggy 21st September, 2012 at 4:52 pm #


    While I do not have an autoimmune disorder, I am in year 17 of chronic exhaustion (from having three enormous sons at the ages of 39, 42 & 45 and a string of fluke-yet-awful accidents which began just after I got pregnant with our third son). The amazing thing was that God gave me my pastoral ministry when I was my weakest physically — because my brain was still working, even if my body couldn’t cope with much.

    I pray for you with your precious son — I know intimately the challenges and heartaches of a mother with a busy son … and not being able to be the strong mother most women take for granted. When my second son was 17 months old, the first accident robbed him of his mother being able to pick him up — ever again. He had to learn to climb up on my lap to snuggle. And when that precious third son was born, I could not carry him after he was nine months old. He learned to crawl up in my lap to be nursed (something we did until he was three — because it was one of the things I could do!).

    This is all part of what I have come to call the Purple Martyrdom — and it, along with a hodgepodge of other topics, is what I blog about … when I have energy. I have come to recognize when I have something to say when I actually have the energy to say it!

    Be blessed in each moment — truly there are millions of us broken-down mothers out here in the virtual realm … whom God has seen fit to connect through the Spirit and the internet.

    • Tanya 21st September, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your story. Your situation sounds really hard. And yet I am struck by how much your sons have adapted, and how mine adapts too. It’s okay once you’ve managed to work a way round, but sometimes the way round is very hard to see!

      Lovely to meet you 🙂

  5. Kim 19th September, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    So glad to find you and your words, Tanya. I’ve been bouncing around reading a bit between my classes. I like demanding…and rewarding. So, we should get along great!

    • Tanya 19th September, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Hurrah! Thanks for finding me!

  6. Jill Richardson 27th August, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Tanya, Good to meet you, and thanks for your comment on my blog. We sound like we’ve taken a similar career path–from studying literature to theology to mom. God bless your time with your little guy, and prayers for your ability to have the energy to keep up with him. By the way, my daughter just came home from studying at Oxford for the summer. She adores your country.

    • Tanya 28th August, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      So lovely to meet you on here! Thanks for stopping by. – I loved your post. It’s cool to meet someone who has been on a similar journey – I look forward to getting to know you more!

  7. ed cyzewski 1st June, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi Tanya. I found you via Twitter and just read your about page to find out what M.E. is. Can you drop me an e-mail about the women in ministry series? I suspect that you have a story to tell…

  8. Tricia Whittle 31st May, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Hi Tanya. A friend sent me the link for your blog. I have severe M.E. I can walk short distances with my stick but can’t do much around the house etc. I’m a Christian as is my wonderful husband Jeff. We have two lovely sons who are in their twenties.
    I try to stay positive but I’m not saying it’s easy. As well as working full time until four years ago I used to also be the Worship leader at church. Now I can’t sing much because I’m breathless, hold a guitar or even clap but I know I can encourage and pray for people so that’s what I try to concentrate on.
    The hardest thing is when people don’t understand but my husband and sons are great and I have a good circle of friends who are very supportive so I’m blessed

    • Tanya 2nd June, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      So lovely to see you on here! I’m very glad that you found my blog.

      I agree that the hardest thing is when people don’t understand – and it’s also hard saying goodbye to the things that were once so precious – like worship leading for you. Hope it’s a temporary goodbye and that your health improves.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment – I appreciate the time and energy taken.

  9. Lindsay 13th May, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Hi Tanya,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I find it so encouraging to discover a blog where someone writes about chronic illness and faith so helpfully and clearly. I feel like I have been searching for that sort of blog for a while. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. It limits my mobility, causes me fatigue, and gives me lots of pain. I was only diagnosed two years ago and I feel as if I am still working through what this all means for my life. I’ve always considered myself to be adventurous and independent and this disease seems to be limiting both. I wish I knew what God was doing! I guess it’s to do with trusting Him nonetheless. Not easy though. I hope you keep writing.

    God bless,
    Lindsay x

    • Tanya 15th May, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      Thank you so much Lindsay. It’s really comforting to know there are others out there going through similar things physically and emotionally! Thanks for taking the time to encourage me. xx

  10. B 9th May, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I was moved by the article I read on your blog yesterday focusing on ME awareness. ME is condition my Mum has suffered with in the past. I’ve had only Glandular Fever. A nasty dose, and I can empathise with some of your frustrations. I had no idea ME/CFS was so complex or contested. Do you have an email address you would be happy for me to approach you by? I’m a Christian woman who has been removed from Church for some time because of overwhelming life issues, but I’d love to share. I have information I’d like to pass on to you, which could be pertinent to your blog and the treatment options and medical opinions you have become unhappy with. I don’t like to simply post a link as I’m not confident enough what I’d like to share would be universally beneficial to sufferers of ME, and would prefer to tell you more about myself and give a testimony.

    • Tanya 15th May, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks for this! I’ve emailed you – do get in touch. xx

  11. Dawn Heap 9th May, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Hi Tanya, My names Dawn age 51 a Christian and a mother of 6, although only 2 live at home. 3 years ago I was self employed owner of a childrens day nursery and mum of 6 and grandma of 2. I am now housebound and need a wheelchair. The biggest thing I found that I struggled with was giving up control. Now I struggle with control of anything. How we take our life for granted. I relly dont see how anyone could go through this without the Lord. He has def been there for me through this illness and the troubles we had before. (I have 2 daughters with ME, and i had one who was anerexic and nearly died) Even though I didnt know then, but God brought us through all this. I think my body just couldbt cope with the stress of everything and now Im having to learn patience, not easy. While ill I have become much closer to the Lord and becoming a prayer warrier while I cant do anything else. Thank you for your posts as all very interesting. Keep well and God Bless xx

    • Tanya 13th May, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Hi Dawn
      Thank you so much for getting in touch. I am reminded that Jesus spent 3 years doing ministry, 30 years just ‘living’, and an eternity either side of that chatting with his heavenly Father, which is a good reality check of what our priorities should be! Viewed from the perspective of eternity, your role as a prayer warrior is far from wasted… Praying that God will continue to be close to you. Much love xx

  12. Kate Dolan 24th March, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    I’m really pleased to have been signposted to your blog by a dear friend, Roz Arnold. I too am a Christian, wife, mother (of two small girls, aged 4 and 1), and ME sufferer, and am so encouraged to read the thoughts and experiences (albeit in small chunks as time and energy allow) of someone who feels and experiences similar things! The thoughts, opinions and wisdom shared both in your blog and responses are encouraging and challenging, such that I have been somewhat reluctant to get in touch, knowing that my thoughts are fog-bound and others’ comments communicate better than I would be able to… But then I realised the mutual benefit of understanding and being understood, the potential for friendship and learning from others, and sharing life’s joys and trials, and realised that I would be missing out if I didn’t reach out. And that maybe I can offer some of those things to you, or other readers, and that God can be working through my contributions to touch lives too… And so here I am saying hello, and looking forward to reading, digesting and travelling this section of life’s journey with you. Thank you. Kate.x

    • Tanya 26th March, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Hi Kate
      Thank you so much for getting in touch!

      Your comment made me think of this quote from C.S. Lewis:
      “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

      I very much value anything that you can share, as you have the energy. Actually, just knowing about you helps – I think it’s that thing of not being alone in this, and it being comforting that this is meaningful to others. Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to make a connection; I know how costly these things are.
      Much love x
      p.s. if you ever need to offload – do get in touch – ask Roz for my email address.

  13. sandra delemare 16th March, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Hi Tanya
    found you via a retweet to your blog on being a prophet – see my reply.
    Truly humbled when I read your brief autobiog.
    I’m interested in keeping in touch and will explore your blogs as and when – I’m currently having to have a serious de-clutter. I’m recently retired, making way for having my mum come and live with me (which will restrict my going out as she will need quite a lot of care), and have been finding out what I can do via the internet – have found some really interesting and helpful people via twitter (couldn’t seem to make sense of it at first)
    be blessed

    • Tanya 16th March, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi there – Thanks for getting in touch and your kind words. Blessings

  14. tanya @ truthinweakness 7th March, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    you’ll have to excuse me — i’m a bit stunned at the moment over some significant things that you & i have in common . . . i am ALSO a Christian, wife, mother, & have an invisible illness that left me entirely incapacitated for quite a while (although i am very humbled to be on a positive, albeit slow, path of recovery & healing). and i am also tanya . . . 🙂

    what a true pleasure to meet you, my new friend. i haven’t even snooped around your posts just yet because i had to go straight to finding out about you! so i look forward to hearing your heart. and while we do not share the same diagnosis, your symptoms describe my health journey to a tee, wheelchair & all. and so i want you to know that there’s somebody out there who understands.

    hugs to you, dear soul,

    • Tanya 7th March, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Hi there! Welcome! Great to see you on here – thanks so much for getting in touch. It’s really heartening to hear of others in a similar situation, and to have friendly words!
      And what a fabulous name you have! Hope you enjoy your look around. xxx

  15. Vicky 5th February, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Hi Tanya,

    Just read your blog and found it so encouraging. The link was sent to me by Catherine Straker.

    I too have M.E., am a Christian and am more or less housebound, but can get out a bit and have a little walk each day. It’s good to hear of another Christian with the illness and I’ll definitely keep up with it now!

    I’ll be praying for you.

    Vicky xxx

    • Tanya 6th February, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Hi there Vicky! Great to hear from you, and so glad that you found the blog encouraging. ME is such an ‘invisible’ illness that I find it comforting to hear there are other people in a similar situation.
      Do comment whenever you have the energy and share your thoughts too – I’d love to hear them!

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