Profiles of DV Leaders across North America

Interview Date: August, 2008

Nancy: Tell us a little about your passion for the work.

Joyce: The passion comes from inside. It just bubbles up. The Holy Spirit is calling me to do this work – having been a survivor, I have something unique that I can bring to women.

Nancy: What exactly do you bring to women who are hurting?

Joyce: Perspective. Having been there, I have lived through the doubts and fears and questions about what God expected of me living in an abusive situation.

Nancy: What does God expect of women who have suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands?

Joyce: He expects our husbands to love us as Christ loves the church, to be servant leaders and to honor us.

Nancy: And when that doesn’t happen, then what?

Joyce: I believe God will put on each woman’s heart what steps she needs to take. First, there is emotional and physical safety for herself and her children.

Nancy: What message would you like to give women who come to our website about your own story? Did God abandon you at your point of need?

Joyce: Exactly the opposite – God was not abandoning me. I want to point them to God’s grace and mercy, and just unconditional love. Finding the right place to see God’s love is important.

Nancy: Did you find unconditional love from the church?

Joyce: From my own church specifically – no. From Christian organizations that were knowledgeable about abuse – they helped me understand that I was living in a DV situation.

Nancy: Can you tell us a little about the beginning of Hagar’s Sisters?

Joyce: It almost happened by accident as I started to share very candidly within my own church that I had filed for divorce from my Christian husband. There was shock and I very quickly found six other women in my church that had restraining orders against their husbands. There were a lot of women that had restraining orders – quite a lot.

Nancy: If a woman were to contact Hagar’s Sisters, what would she find?

Joyce: First we would be able to love her and affirm her.

Nancy: Even if she didn’t feel loved?

Joyce: We would help her to recognize her situation. We would help her with her own decision process, affirming her, helping her to find safety.

Nancy: What do you hope to accomplish by five years from now?

Joyce: By five years – develop the structure of Hagar’s Sisters to the point where we are supporting a number of satellites, development of proprietary curriculum, perhaps DVD based resources and one to one support…God is doing amazing work. In four years we had over 100 women come through the Ministry and since January another 50. The need is tremendous.

Nancy: Thanks so much for sharing your vision with us.

Joyce Holt
Joyce Holt
(Founder, Hagar’s Sisters)
Coffee and cookies at Au Bon Pain

Boston, Massachusetts