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?

 

IMG_3779

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:

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

199 Responses to About Me

  1. SHARON WALKER 10th April, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    Am thrilled to have just discovered your blog – and am really enjoying your thoughts.
    I too have ME and am pretty limited how much I can do. I spent the bulk of 4-5 years bed or sofa-bound and still have to lie down for quite a lot of each day. I can go out a little for a while but then have to re-charge my batteries.
    I too love studying God’s Word and have led a home group doing bible studies.
    Thanks for sharing your heart and writing so clearly with such depth and insight.
    Will be praying for you.
    Sharon xx

    • Tanya 5th June, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Sharon – can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reply to this! Thanks so much for introducing yourself – I see we have much in common! I appreciate your friendliness on my Facebook page – it’s nice to put a face to the story!
      Much love x

  2. Emily 28th March, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I have been following you on twitter for a while and have only read a few of your posts, but WOW! You have such wonderful things to say. Your words are always paired with a ray of sunshine. Thank you for sharing your story, your thoughts, and enduring pain to share those things. Can’t wait to come back soon 🙂

    • Tanya 28th March, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi! I see from your blog that you are no stranger to chronic illness – thanks for understanding it all! Much love x

  3. Helen 14th March, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Hi Tanya, I just stumbled across your blog as I was reading about “Chasing Silouettes” on goodwomenproject.com. I am seeking to find out more about eating disorders from a Christian perspective so search for a review of the book and yours came up. I love the way you write – elequent, direct and honest, it’s beautiful.
    This is my favourite bit
    “He is faithful and He will do it. His grace is sufficient. There are safety nets – no, not nets – there are everlasting arms to hold me when I trip, when I fall and fail. He knows the beginning and the end, He is the Alpha and the Omega, and He knows that I do not know the start and the finish, I am flailing in the middle. He is smiling as I cycle without stabilisers. He is good.”
    In our weaknesses he is strong. Thanks for being such an encouragement to those who read your blog.
    God bless you
    x

    • Tanya 18th March, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Thank you SO much for taking the time to encourage me in this way, Helen – I really appreciate it. Sending you a high-five for understanding 🙂

  4. Ashley @ Draw Near 11th March, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    And Tanya, after spending time on your ‘about me’ page, I just want to say I have even greater respect for the ways you choose to live this life, for the heart you have that reaches out to God for his hope and sustaining. For the ways you shed light while sharing deep pain. What you speak in your strong-tender, encouraging way is so very valuable. I’m so thankful to have met you.

    • Tanya 11th March, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Thank you so much for blessing me with your words. I really value them.

  5. Ashley @ Draw Near 11th March, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Dear Tanya, I guess it’s not meant to be this time around for me. Had thoughts about the bottle but was awakened in the night by all our fire alarms sounding and then by horrible nightmares first thing this morn. I feel I just need to be still and held in God’s presence to start the day…and then my little people will be up, and I won’t be able to write. 🙂 Thanks so much for hosting the concrete. Your writing’s been gorgeous. Sending much much love to you, Tanya.

    • Tanya 11th March, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Thank you, sweet Ashley, for stopping by and for letting me know. I really appreciate it. Ach – I can just feel that frustration of having that quality time stripped away by fire alarms and life. And yet I know you have chose the better thing, and that will not be taken from you. Praying for you today.

  6. Tolu 8th March, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    Hi Tanya,
    I empathise with what you are going through. It’s so refreshing to stumble upon your blog (which I found through a link from a premier radio newsletter email I received today). I pray that you are in good spirits and are being continually filled with the joy of the Lord which is your strength. Continue to be encouraged and fight the good fight of faith. The Lord is on your side and He will perfect all that concerns you.

    God bless

    Tolu

    • Tanya 11th March, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      Hey there – I’m so glad you discovered my blog!
      Thanks too for your prayers – I really appreciate them.
      Do come and visit again!

  7. Tony Whittaker 15th January, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Tanya, I noticed your tweet about a stairlift. As I’m in UK, our manufacturers may be different, however, my dad has one. Couple of thoughts:

    1) I have seen them available secondhand, if money is an issue
    2) It’s the rechargable battery that will likely need replacing after several years. Until that is needed, annual servicing may or may not be needed, and may or may not be ridiculously expensive.

    On a related matter, it was our experience in UK that battery scooters were about three times as expensive in a disability showroom as ordered direct online!

    Blessings

    Tony

    • Tanya 17th January, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      Thank you so much. I’m also in the UK! Very useful tips about batteries and servicing etc – I shall bear that in mind

  8. Jillie 27th November, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Hello Tanya…I am here today through the link of Shelly Miller’s post re: suffering in Rwanda…and in her own life. (Tuesday, Nov. 27/12) I came here simply because Shelly told how you are from England, and like her, I love ‘all-things-British’.
    My full married name is Jillie Devon Hansford, and I live in Ontario, Canada. My paternal Gram was born and raised (to the age of 16) in Devon, England. She then came to Canada over the great ‘pond’ and lived here the remainder of her life, never returning to her beloved England. Her maiden name was Courtier.
    I’m very excited to have been ‘introduced’ to your blog, and will be following you. Sticky topic you’re on right now—the ordaining of women to the priesthood. I have my own beliefs on the subject, but I won’t voice them here. I’m of the ‘baptist persuasion’ so that should give you a clue as to my train of thought. 😀 But it’s ok to agree to disagree, yes?
    I have enjoyed the 4 posts I’ve read thus far. You make me think, and that’s a good thing. Keep writing, and I’ll keep reading. Cheerio!

    • Tanya 28th November, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Jillie! I’m really glad you found me! I don’t know much about Canada – every now and again I look it on the map and observe how huge it is… My impression of it is that culturally it’s half way between Europe and America – but I’ve no idea how true that is!

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the posts you’ve read – hoping you’ll enjoy more! And yes – always welcome to agree to disagree! 🙂

      Much love
      Tanya x

Leave a Reply

Please send me my free ebook and updates