Brik wal falling downToday I’m delighted to welcome Tanya Marlow as guest poster on the blog. Tanya writes at Thorns and Gold, and I’ve gotten to know her through twitter as well as her blog.

Tanya always writes with such honesty and grace about her faith and struggle living with a chronic illness. It’s an honour to have Tanya posting here today and I’m certain you’re going to learn a lot from her: 


It is always easier to tear down than to build up.

I watch my little boy playing with his Lego.

“And then this goes on top of here,” he explains, “and this one, and this one.”

He carefully selects each brick: red on top of blue, two to match the other side, a bridge over the pillars – no, not a bridge- he’s changed his mind – a bright tower. Here a door, there a window; he creates his world with such care, and I pour over my Mummy superlatives: “excellent – that’s beautiful, darling.”

There is beauty in seeing a small person start out in creativity. I enjoy watching the miniature world slowly take shape under his fingers.

And then he gets tired, the first small sign of frustration – it’s not going how he wants it. He has trouble separating the bricks and he’s just two years old – he won’t have the patience or strength to do it himself. If it were the start of the morning he would come to me with a request to help him with it – but it is just before tea time and he is hungry and tired, and a little grumpy.

He exhales, draws back his hand and -smash! – the bricks are in pieces all over the floor.

The pillars are in two, the door and window are halfway across the room, tower sticking out of the bottom of the sofa. I watch his face closely. It is not the same look of satisfaction he had when he was one and learning that skill for the first time. His smile looks resentful, somehow – as though he knew that the pleasure in destroying his tower was so fleeting as to have been a waste.

We slowly pick up the remaining pieces and put them back in the box and I think about how I use my words.

It is always easier to destroy than to build up. (you can tweet that here)

It is the lazy thing; often the thing that comes from a moment of tiredness or hunger, when you can’t be bothered to persevere with that tricky relationship any more and you don’t want to ask for help. It is easier to tear down with words, to go for the cheap laugh, the sarcastic retort, the outraged rant.

To speak in order to build other up – to spot the good, to hold back, believe the best, to pause and select a more positive spin – that is the hard thing, the better thing.

I want to be the person who builds others up, who uses my words to encourage.

It requires more concentration and care, it doesn’t deliver that thrill of having seen your power displayed so dramatically –

but it looks more beautiful in the end.


blog-photo-corfu-374x500Tanya Marlow was formerly in Christian ministry for a decade and was Associate Director and lecturer for a university-level Bible training course.

Now she reads Bible stories to her toddler as she learns what it means to be a mum who is housebound with an autoimmune illness. She blogs at Thorns and Gold, on the Bible, Suffering, and the messy edges of life. 

Follow Tanya on Twitter or like her Facebook page.



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James Prescott

Hi, I’m James. I live near London. I’m a fan of good food, comic-book movies, & books. I love to write, and I coach other writers & creative people. Thank you for being part of my community. read more...