Returning to Hope, with Sherdonna Denholm

September is upon us.  As the crisp air ushers in a new season, we are taking this month to present SongNotes in a different way than we have ever done before. We’re handing over the pen and the microphone to some other talented folks. 

With souls as dedicated to beautiful music and heartfelt truth as ours are, these guests will surely bless you.  It’s been an honor to get to know them and share this collaboration. 

Returning

Each artist will be presenting a song and a writing that explore their own take on the theme of “Returning.”

Today you get to meet this beautiful soul…

Sherdonna Denholm

Sherdonna is an American singer-songwriter and hymn writer who integrates thought-provoking lyrics with a rich, soulful, folk sound. Her writing is honest and without pretense, weaving together beautiful melodies and textures. Her voice is pure and soothing, and her songs speak to the heart of the human experience.

As a wife and mother of three teenage sons Sherdonna seeks to find beauty in the ordinary of everyday life. She studied the clarinet in college and has a deep love for the symphony. Since 2012, she has independently recorded and produced 3 full length albums and a Christmas EP. She loves telling her story through music and sharing herself through songs.

Sherdonna lives in St. Louis with her husband, Todd, and sons Tristan, Jackson, and Andrew.

You can find more about Sherdonna at www.Sherdonna.com.

“In the Morning”

by Sherdonna Denholm


When quarantine hit in March and everything shut down I decided to devote some of my new found free time to taking walks outside.

I live in St. Louis with my sweet husband, Todd, and 3 teenage sons. I am a bit outnumbered in our little house, so I was thankful that right at the time everything was shutting down spring was just beginning to bloom.  

The frequent uninterrupted spaces of time outside gifted me with a much needed break from the treadmill my family had been on for quite some time. Winter had been long in the earthly sense but also in the personal sense. My family and I had walked through about a three year season where it seemed so much of who we were and what we loved died. We found ourselves standing in a field of ashes trying to make sense of all that had taken place and not recognizing ourselves anymore.

Along with taking in all of the beautiful new beginnings of spring opening up all around me, I found myself enjoying the bridges that took me over the railroad tracks in my neighborhood.

A friend of mine asked why I loved the tracks so much, and I didn’t really know how to respond. There is something about them that I was drawn to. Perhaps they reminded me that while I have a home here I am still a traveler, that my journey isn’t done, and that there is a reason I still wake up every morning feeling the unknown. 

As people there is something deeply ingrained in each of us that longs for a world made right. We long to see good prevail. We long for suffering to cease. We hate it when evil seems to win. 

A number of years ago I sat down on my bed to try and make sense of all that was rattling around in me. I was struggling to reconcile the overwhelming beauty we are surrounded by each day coupled with the constant pain and sorrow we see and hear about on a regular basis. I sat down to write, and the song, “In the Morning,” was born.

It is my vision for a world made right.

When I think of the word “return” I am reminded of the word “hope.” 

Every day on my walks I kept returning to those railroad tracks, those bridges, and “the peace of wild things,” as the poet Wendell Berry calls it. In the daily practice of returning to those places of remembrance my eyes were set on a picture much greater than myself.

I love my home here. I am settled, and  yet I must continue to return to the longing for a different kind of home I have not experienced yet. 

Lyrics of “In The Morning” by Sherdonna Denholm

In the morning we will see the setting sun.
In the morning we will dance as Jesus comes.
Every eye will see his face full of mercy, full of grace.

In the morning every evil way will fail.
In the morning lovingkindness will prevail.
Every tear of mourn will cease, joy will have its victory.
In the morning we will be free.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah, we will be set free.

In the morning shattered lives will be made new.
In the morning kings, and princes, paupers too.
We will all be hand in hand. The comforter will rule our land.
In the morning we will be free.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah, we will be set free.

This work from Sherdonna, along with that of our three other September collaborators (Hannah Bakke, Joe Danielson, and Ami Andersen) are now available for you to order as a digital or print collection in the shop.

Saturday’s email will have more goodness: request yours here.