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

Background: 

  • 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?

 

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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:

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172 Responses to About Me

  1. Andrew Smith 30th August, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Thank you so much for your contribution to the Greenbelt Communion on Sunday. It was truly humbling to witness the positivity of yourself, Becky Tyler and others who took part. It all left a deep impression, which will stay with me through the year until the next Greenbelt.

    Looking forward to reading your blog…

    • Tanya 13th October, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and share with me the impact it had on you. Truly, it was an amazing honour to be involved. Do check out my new book! I hope you like it.

  2. Hannah 21st August, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Do you have an email or contact page to contact you more personally?

    • Tanya 13th October, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      I’ll email you

  3. Sonya 16th August, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    Tanya, I am so glad to have found your post. Although I do not have ME, the so called “experts” believe I have Muscular Dystrophy. (Once I was diagnosed with ALS and CMT). I would love to get tested but sadly its not covered. The ugly disease showed itself when I was 14 years old. Since then its been a slow progression of muscle wasting, cardiac involvement (3 defibulators and no room for more) and deformity. You put into words what I have been feeling for so long and how I sought God but blamed God often. Most people will never understand but I can’t blame them. Its a very difficult life but there is suffering everywhere. God never said this life was going to be easy, but I hold on to the hope that my suffering shines a light on someone else’s life. We are in this together and together we will shine!

  4. Tammy Mashburn 1st July, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Oh Tanya, I’m so glad we met. Without my Sweet Man, I too am housebound. Four years into this he knows the disease well and can navigate me through life. I haven’t driven in four years. Thanks to my husband and the power of Christ, I am able to be involved in our home church, serving. I know most don’t understand this, it’s in the hardest places where we grow closer to God and see him in ways beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
    So good to meet a P.O.T.S. warrior and Sister!
    {{Hugs}}
    Tammy L Mashburn
    tammylmashburn.com

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      I am absolutely loving getting to know you better. You are such a force for encouragement! Thanks for taking the time to tell me a little more about you. Giving you a huge solidarity high-five – it’s great to meet fellow sisters going through this particular battle. xxxx

  5. Gilly 19th June, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    Hi
    So glad to find your blog! I am the cater to twins with m.e and fibromyalgia. They are 17 and have been ill since they were 13. And also my husband who has cvid, boy it’s tough to marry faith and every day reality of life. Our lives are not normal in the true sense but it’s great to know there are others out there wrestling with this. I am going to direct some other friends here too, all our in church ministry and suffering has hit them hard!

  6. Cathy 20th February, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

    Ren and Tanya, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your discussion about the marriage proposal on the threshing floor! It was so interesting to hear such thoughtful analysis of the text. My little baby boy is called Boaz, so we’ve explained the story a few times, but I’ve always been a bit puzzled about that part of the story. Thanks again, it was such an edifying and gracious discussion.

    • Tanya 30th June, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks cathy – that means a lot.

  7. Simon Stocks 7th February, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Tanya. A friend has just alerted me to your blog which is great.
    I’ve just published a little book on praying through suffering. It stems from my research into psalms of lament. My friend wondered if you might like to review it? I’d be very happy to send you a copy in any case.
    http://uroomtech.christianbook.com/songs-suffering-praying-psalms-time-trouble/simon-stocks/9781619708808/pd/708808

    • Tanya 20th February, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

      Thank you for thinking of me! I just got it in the post.

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