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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192 Responses to About Me

  1. Kristie Webb 8th October, 2019 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi my name is Kristie Webb. My sister just bought me one of your books, “Those Who Wait” and after reading the first few paragraphs I can already tell that this book will have an impact on me. I am in my late 20’s and when I was around 15 for what seemed like no apparent reason I developed what I now know to be a very rare neuro-immunological disorder called Stiff Person Syndrome. My doctor will not give me a prognosis. When I see him we just take it one visit at a time. For about 10 years I struggled with people believing I was just too anxious or maybe faking. When I was in 11th grade or so we finally seriously went to a doctor (after having problems since 9th grade) I found a family doctor who believed I had something wrong with me, and decided that she needed to prescribe something but since we didn’t technically know what it was she was blunt and said that what she wanted to give me she thought would be helpful, but that it had some potentially really bad side effects to it. I was just so glad someone believed me that I didn’t care about the potential side effects. I trusted her, and the pain was just too much. I eventually saw a neurologist who basically just diagnosed me with the best diagnosis she could come up with, but I was lucky and she was always willing to send me to other people for second opinions. Some stuck with her diagnosis because it was the best option, and one basically told me it was all in my head. I finally saw someone at Johns Hopkins who diagnosed me with what he believed to be the right diagnosis, but when it came back inconclusive which happens sometimes with this disorder he didn’t just put a rubber stamp on it, start treating me, and not look for other potential diagnoses Instead, he observed me for a few years the best he could and continued to check out other things that it could possibly be. Eventually, he was satisfied in his diagnosis, as was I. Unfortunately, I am allergic (which is basically unheard of) to the two main treatments for this disorder. I get frustrated because though I have people I can kind of talk to about my disorder. No one can understand all I am going through. I am really glad my sister found your book. The other side to this frustration is that most people are diagnosed with this around 30 and I probably developed this disorder around the age of 15. My biggest struggle is trying to find myself in the midst of this disorder that always seems to take over my life. I cannot hold down a job at the moment because when the spasms hit ( they look like seizures) they can last for hours or days at a time. I can also fall and hurt myself at any time. I have had trouble feeding myself because on top of this disorder I also have essential tremors that can get bad sometimes. I am so thankful though that I am a Christian. God has continued to bring me through this through my love of science, music, the Bible, and the arts. I have a supportive family in their ways. Again, though, finding a Christian who has not only decided to fight through her disorder no matter what’s on the other side, but who has taken the time to share what she has learned with others I firmly believe is what God knew I needed right now. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, and not letting your disorders get the better of you. Thank you for showing me that no matter the circumstances we can always find ways to serve God.

  2. kendell 26th April, 2019 at 8:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing your book I have just downloaded. Having just lost my husband after 54yrs of marriage I have been struggling and doubting my own Salvation and feel so alone as many people are telling me how I should be feeling even though they haven’t been so I look forward to reading your book.

  3. El 2nd January, 2019 at 3:33 am #

    I too have so much in common with you… Many of you I guess as I read the posts. Tanya, you made me cry. I don’t know how you do it as sick as you’ve been feeling…the blog and all, but your husband is amazing and I think that helps.

    I am eager to write to you and share my experience- I was really, really sick and was cured by what can only be described as a miracle. I also study and figured out what I believe was the cause of my ME…a chemical exposure at work, to which there is no antidote but by the grace of God, and Jesus, after 13 horrendously painful years of suffering, I was completely healed. I studied toxicology (not a degree) , environmental health and nutrition and began to see why some of our bodies can take no more. I would like to see if my info could help anyone… trying to find time to write and u inspire me to find time to go back to writing.

    Please if u haven’t yet, check out Rich Van Konyenbergs approach to CFIDS/ME. He was a wonderful support and friend to me and many who suffered. He is now with God (not an ME-sufferer, had a heart attack) but he helped countless people like us.

    Write to me if you would like to contact me please. God bless you all and know that ANYONE can be healed if I can be.

  4. Lucy anne latgie 29th December, 2018 at 11:09 pm #

    H
    I’d love to be able to contact you if you have the strength
    I’m a Christian lady former pastors wife
    I was a Gp for many years before getting very ill with symptoms that resemble cfs but after 4 years of hospital admissions and several neurologists ,mental health people etc etc still no formal diagnosis !
    I’m very much someone who believes the Lord will fully deliver me from this sickness
    However I’ve also had to be very practical at pacing myself
    This approach has not helped me in my personal relationships and I’ve been very misunderstood by Christian friends
    I’m now living alone in supported accommodation since I couldn’t manage pace of everyday life
    However I feel i have a lot to offer
    I live near Exeter and I am passionate about helping others
    If you are wanting to email me privately Please do I would love to connect with you and help any way I can and also be a friend
    Bless you I look forward to reading your books ‘

  5. Mana 24th December, 2018 at 9:43 am #

    aw it is so good to meet you, and thank you for your time to write and your words which I can relate to so well.
    am looking forward to your blog now.
    I found you on the LICC page which inspires my prayer life. and your article today on it about those who wait really spoke to me, so yes look forward to getting to know you and it is like an extra Christmas gift love and blessings from Mana, Marilyn Hazlett XOX

  6. Anon 24th November, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Hello! Just heard your interview on UCB1, and checked in on your website and watched your New Wine interview. Thanks for being so real. As a husband of someone with a long term illness, it was great to hear what you said about your man. Thanks. I know what you mean about some people being healed and some not. There is a guy in our church who has had ME for 22 years now. There is a girl who had it but was healed completely and is now a missionary. A tough question for you to consider – probably best to be detached and logical and not read it if you’re already tired.
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    If you were healed right now, how would it affect you? How would it affect your relationship with your husband?

    My wife has been getting gradually better from her illness over the years, and having loved and supported her through it, and made her and the family my whole life, given everything I could, she started to decide she didn’t want me to help her any more. Then having found the strength to stand on her own feet decided she didn’t want me at all, and has left me.

    I know right now, you can’t conceive that anything like that would happen in your family. I didn’t either. She spent so long depending on me, worrying that I would leave her that I never saw it coming, and to be honest, I’m not sure she did either. Please do think about it, and plan for how you will handle the change in the relationship if healing does come. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else! It’s not just me, it’s the effect it has on the children and even though my Ex has got what she wanted she is not happy. Sorry this is a bit serious and not something nice to think about, but I loved what you said on the radio and don’t want it to happen to you.

    Thanks again for being real. Praying that you read it at the right time and that it might help others who read the comments who probably haven’t even considered that it might happen to them.

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