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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199 Responses to About Me

  1. Anita K 12th August, 2020 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    I’m Anita, a mental health awareness trainer and emerging writer on mental health and faith. I recently did your workshop on Chaos you led for the ACW.

    In January, I found out that I have bipolar disorder, after having had a diagnosis of depression for over 20 years. Despite initially finding this hard, I’m coming to terms with this, and have really grappled with the ‘I am a new creation” verse from 2 Corinthians when I have reoccurring depressive episodes. I’m currently writing my mental health memoir that is in part discussing my own going healing but trying to address the times in between.

    Since doing your workshop, God has given me greater clarity on the themes to focus on in the book and the courage to write about more recent difficulties with some hope added in. I really value your honesty as someone who grapples with chronic illness and doesn’t leave out the tricky times when we don’t clearly see God’s healing.

  2. Suzie Billingham 31st May, 2020 at 3:19 am #

    Hi Tanya,

    I will keep this brief as I am sure you have little energy for essays.

    I came across you by being awake at this time of night and watching TBN.

    My story would take a book! However, having been diagnosed at a young age myself with ME, subsequently EDS and bipolar, it has transpired at the age of 41 it was mostly my jaw that didnt develop properly and was missed. This has caused chronic problems with sleep and caused my sinuses to collapse. The discs are very badly damaged and now waiting for open surgery. It has been the cause of much of my life being radically different to what it could have been. It has been a grieving over this loss but I have realised that God has allowed me to be where I am now, today.

    Where I have been mistreated, misrepresented and misunderstood and had everything taken away (sanity included), I have also been able to touch many lives I could not otherwise.

    Thank you for your words tonight. It has helped me a lot.

  3. Andrew Graham 2nd April, 2020 at 8:42 am #

    Dear Tanya,
    I have just read your commentary on ‘Ruth’ and have thoroughly enjoyed it and have to tell you it has encouraged and strenthened me. The words call me Mara must resonate with many, and I wonder why the book is not called Naomi and Ruth, or being a man even just Boaz. Perhaps some would say because Ruth is the heroine of the real events, However, you’re work has shown me that God himself is the real hero of the message…not the deserter, but the saviour ! Also, you’re enlightening me with the awareness of the weave of prayer throughout the book, and it’s outcome I have found most heartening, especially in reguard to Naomi. You’re composition is delightful, and moving. You’re mentioning about the poor often being the most generous, and about the fact that people still die from hunger/malnutrition made me think, especially at this time with corona virus’s economic effects on the poorest. Surely God’s attentions are more claimed by the tears of the desperate than the laughter of the filled. He has certainly filled this hungry soul through you’re ministry. I have gone through some grim, cruel events these last few years, and have felt like the goat being sent out into the wilderness to die. The ‘wilderness’. so to speak, has has become my refuge, my trust in others has come to a low ebb. God has reached me through this work/you’re ministry, not to live in quiet desperation, but to hope in God,, our saviour !

    (And the light is shinning in the darkness, but the darkness has not overpowered it !)

  4. Katherine Blessan 18th February, 2020 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Tanya, I’ve tried messaging you on Twitter as we follow each other, but your name is not coming up when I type it in – for some reason – would you be happy to email me as I have something I want to discuss with you related to a novel I’m writing with a protagonist with a chronic illness? I’ve just finished listening to your UCB interview from last year and I was very moved and encouraged.

    God bless,
    Katherine

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