John Piper, The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (Illinois: Crossway Books, 2001), 54.
“He was himself [Bunyan, my emphasis] singularly fortunate in the two companions of his home life and pilgrimage. Mr. Lynch acutely suggested that in Christiana, with her vigorous strength of character, Bunyan was idealizing his second wife Elizabeth, who in the Swan Chamber so nobly confronted judges and magistrates in his behalf; while in the gentler character of Mercy we have his heart-reminiscence of her who had been the wife of his youth in his far-off Elstow days.”
John Brown, John Bunyan, His Life, Times and Work (London: J.S. Virtue and Co., Limited, 1886), 276.
And herein lies my BOLD rhetorical move, I argue that Elizabeth Bunyan—herself, aside from her husband—can, and should be, the center of books, biography, sermons, discussions, and studies. I am not implying that Elizabeth Bunyan is not mentioned within books. Indeed, she is (most notably within John Brown’s book about John Bunyan), but my research—which I cannot say is exhaustive—has yet to encounter Elizabeth Bunyan as “subject” outside the bounds of being discussed alongside her “famed” husband.
Simply reading one paragraph about Elizabeth Bunyan leads me to think that she was not only John Bunyan’s second wife; yet, she was a brave, bold, dauntless stepmom and caregiver, who probably experienced trials and tribulations in her step-parenthood of which I have no parallel or experience. Perhaps, I should write a book about her? Of course, I have no way of knowing about or commenting on her character, per se, without extensive research, but as for now this has been “Unsung Stepmom Profile: Elizabeth Bunyan.” She cared for four children of whom she did not birth, one of whom was blind, while valiantly petitioning for her husband to be released from prison. Wow. I am humbled, Elizabeth Bunyan.