About Me

My video interview for New Wine Conference, 2017 – on my journey of faith, chronic illness, and the silences of God

tanya profile pic 2016

© Tanya Marlow – Profile Picture

Bio in brief: 

Tanya Marlow is an author, speaker and broadcaster on faith and spirituality.

She is also a campaigner for those with chronic illness, disability and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

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.


Author of Three Books: 

She is the author of Those Who Wait: Finding God in disappointment, doubt and delay (Malcolm Down Publishing, 2017) – a creative and transformative journey through the lives of four Bible characters who waited impatiently – and found God in their frustrated longings. Preorder from Wordery (free worldwide delivery) or look out for the introductory offer 16-26th October on Amazon.

She is a contributor to Soul Bare – Stories of Redemption 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).

tanya profile pic garden

What do I write about?

My writing covers a whole host of topics, but 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?

My background is in theology and ministry, but I have an English Literature degree, and I like to tackle these topics creatively, interweaving story and metaphor with spiritual truth.

I love exploring the Bible so it gets under your skin, ministers to your spirit, and leads you to Jesus.

Vulnerability and authenticity 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.

tanya marlow feisty pic

Writer, Broadcaster, Campaigner:

  • I was the founder of Compassionate Britain, a grassroots campaign that united 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 #MEAction Network.  

Birthday Trip out of the house


  • I was formerly a lecturer in Biblical Theology, and Associate Director for a homiletics 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 (Spring Harvest, New Wine, Greenbelt etc). I hold a post-graduate qualification in pastoral counselling. 

Tanya profile pic wall


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.
2016 M.E. Action Protests for Better research and treatment

Sept 2016 – M.E. Action Protests for Better research and treatment

  • 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, 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’.

tanya pic lounge

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:




190 Responses to About Me

  1. Lisa Hillier 4th May, 2018 at 10:33 am #

    Hi Tanya,

    I hope you’re well.

    National family charity, Care for the Family have launched a book entitled ‘Raising Faith’, linked to The Kitchen Table Project (an initiative to help parents become more intentional about nurturing their children’s faith) and co-authored by Katharine Hill. I wondered if you might be interested in reviewing this and/or working with us on a giveaway for your readers?

    I’m attaching the book cover and would be happy to send across a copy for review.

    Best regards,

    Please note my working days are Tuesday – Friday

  2. Wendy Barnes 7th December, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

    Hi Tanya

    I have very briefly read through some of the bloggs as concentration can sometimes be an issue for me
    I discovered you(!)from a feature in the Plymouth Magazine
    I’m not sure if I’m a Christian, I’m afraid but I’m sure about trying to deal with Fibromyalgia/ CFS/ depression and anxiety.
    I live alone with my beloved little dog Saffie who is my absolute life. I discovered 18 months ago that she has a heart condition which could shorten her life.
    I struggle every day with “stuff” and have a “ small” daily life which I feel safe with. I chose not to socialise much but feel very alone at times..
    I feel my life is passing by and that I’m just getting through every day until THE day..
    I know this is not how it should be and that life is a gift and I should make more of it
    I’ve also noticed that most of what is written is all about”I”..
    Perhaps I needed to just offload ??x

  3. Teal 5th December, 2017 at 8:57 pm #


    I came to your website via a Google search for Advent reflections in which I found your Learning to Wait thoughts for Advent from 2012. I like the dual emphasis on both the 1st and the 2nd coming of Jesus. I also watched your interview with New Wine, and appreciate your frankness . As you said, it really comes down to the fact that we believe that only Jesus has the words of eternal life. Therefore we must stick with him and go through with him, whatever we face. Years ago, I read Philip Yancey’s “Disappointment With God” and, far from a depressing read, it gave me great heart.

    Warm Regards, Teal

  4. Lin Macphetson 16th November, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Hi everyone , my name is Lin . I have struggled with m.e. for 18 years now , the first two bed bound . It still has a huge impact on my life as I was diagnosed with schitzo effective disorder 48 years ago .! There have been long periods of time when I could not find God in the darkness , but somehow I mostly knew He would become real to me again . One of my outlets in those very dark years was writing poetry . Father God also gave me songs for me to sing and play on my guitar .
    The poem below was written when I essentially time in a mental hospital .
    And then comes the greying cloud of morning,
    Sometimes tinged with pink,
    Sometimes golden,
    Very often black with no light in that
    A nebulous situation.
    Void of feelings .

    A struggling for means of expression,
    But unable to find a route to take,
    Just death and agony.

    Then one morning I awaken
    And the darkness within is lifting, turning
    to – the greying clouds of morning ?
    Sometimes tinged with pink?
    Longing to be golden,
    And those days can come,
    In the greyness I can see those golden
    days are possible,
    Not always perfect gold, but gold
    enough to face life and people
    Gold enough to care about others
    And that is where joy begins
    30-03-76. Adrian House

    I do pray for all of you on the fringes with suffering . I have had ten years of CBT now and have a better handle on how i tick . And am thankful that God uses me as an encourager ??

  5. Kate Lennard-Jones 14th November, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    Hello Tanya,

    I’m just getting round to writing to you to say how moving I found your reading at the Greenbelt festival this year. I myself have M.E and was both surprised and delighted to have someone ‘like me’ included within the service.

    I felt inspired to write to you to ask you to consider Bach Flower Remedies. They helped me so much in my healing journey that I am now a Practitioner. Bach Flowers work on negative emotions which can lead to imbalances in our health, I’m not touting for business (really!) but I am happy to chat about it and help if I can. It is not a cure-all but does make a difference!

    Kind regards,

  6. Leanne 2nd November, 2017 at 7:04 am #

    Hi Tanya:

    I appreciate your blog..was Dx with ME since 2003…and then Lyme and co-infections 2010. Right now I started Bee Venom therapy stinging with bees…many found help in this treatment for both conditions…many have gotten there life back. I prayed for healing, many prayed over me…now I have been given this form of treatment and they say if you are willing to stick it out 2.5-3 years…healing can occur. Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme disease – a group on Facebook is an amazing resource on Facebook. Ellie Lobel was a woman who went to California to die..her whole body was being shut down..and she was in the WC..then she suddenly got swarmed and stung while there…and she learned she got better and free form pain..so she developed the protocol..and herself is walking, normal energy, no pain. after .5 years of stinging…..There are people in England stinging. I hope this helps….maybe you have heard of this? God Bless you….I will read your free book..soon…+++ Leanne

  7. Lee-Anne 28th October, 2017 at 6:17 am #

    Hi Tanya
    You are exactly who I have prayed and asked to find! Someone that I can relate to in many ways and most importantly in faith and opinion thereof related to my illness. As a (kind-of-)missionary it’s pretty hard to see how people (with all good intentions) can only focus on healing but we (with ME) reach a place where we need to be willing to say God even if you don’t heal me, You’re still my God and I can still fulfill my calling.

    For now I’m just still in a harder place because my family isn’t there yet – to embrace who I am now, “less” than who I was. I suppose I’ve done a lot of my grieving already and fighting with God (oh I love that you get that).

    I’m still struggling to express what’s in my heart to others because talking is one of the things that has become very hard – but I’m starting to get it back. So though I would’ve loved to meet you (or someone like you) right here in person to talk to face to face, right now, you are an answer to my prayer and I am so glad you have been willing to share the little “up time” you have with the rest of us. I look forward to reading and listening to the rest of your stories.

  8. Rev Ry 20th September, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Hi Tanya
    let’s get haters bit out of the way first, I am Rev Ry a GAY celebrant/ordained non-denominational minister who has suffered from fibro for well over 20 years, I am mainly housebound like yourself, I also have many other fibro related illnesses most recently proctitis which was bleeding rectally up to 10 times per day causing sereve anemia and bed bound for 2yrs. Now I know many will hate me first for being gay secondly for been a gay christian, all I say to this is Read Matt Vines book! it may help! I was so looking forward to going to Greenbelt this year, however a week before husband and I were due to go, I developed metatasalgia so couldn’t walk and we missed it! GB is supposed to be accepting of ALL and so as gay christians we were hoping to testify to this. I have written a childrens book but sadly cannot find any lit agents nor feedback undeterred I am almost finished with a second childrens book, well see. I have dyslexia but gained two first class hons degrees one in nursing one in TCM, sadly had to let my role as a nurse go due to the proctitis & fibro together wow what a journey, but God got me through it, in fact it brought us closer together praise the Lord. Can’t find a fully accepting church to attend so we try to go 1-2 times a month for Eucharist, that is depending how I am feeling as men with fibro also seem to hated! I wonder if you have come across the gay clobber verses which are constantly used against us? It seems funny that their are 23,145 verses in the Old Testament and7,957 verses in the New Testament. This gives a total of 31,102 verses, which is an average of a little more than 26 verses per chapter. Contrary to popular belief, Psalm 118 does not contain the middle verse of the Bible, and yet 6 verses are constantly used to spread hate and condemnation against lgbt+ especially those of us who are christian. No mention of us in the ten commandments or the list of unforgivable sins etc listed in the bible! Well would love to share faith/ideas/support etc with you. Yours a fellow sufferer/sinner but loved by God the one who made me just as I am. xxx

    • Tanya 13th October, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

      Hi, Rev Ry! Great to see you. Sorry to hear about all that you’re going through with chronic illness- such a shame you couldn’t make it to Greenbelt this year after all. Wishing you all the best with your children’s books – if you never get a publisher, I’d definitely urge you to consider self-publishing through Amazon or similar. It can be a great option for many. Best wishes.

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