Meet Allie Lambert, Vanguard '19 - artist and thinker with a smile that lights up a room. Read on to learn about her Vanguard year.
What brought you to Vanguard?
I knew that I wanted to do a gap year and I was looking at a bunch of different options that involve travel and nature. I ultimately chose Vanguard because it had the spiritual structure I needed. I knew it could help me answer a lot of questions I wanted more time to think about.
What were some of those questions?
I wanted to know what I believe in. I grew up going to church and everything. But you know, in high school I was like, I don’t know what I really believe. I had a lot of doubts. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue my Christian faith outside of my routine at home. I knew that I wasn’t fully involved with it.
I knew that I didn’t really have a relationship with God. If I went to college and wasn’t 100% sure of my faith, I knew that I would just drop it. It was important for me to figure it out.
I knew that I didn’t really have a relationship with God. If I went to college and wasn’t 100% sure of my faith, I knew that I would just drop it. It was important for me to figure it out.— Allie Lambert, Vanguard '19
What did that look like at Vanguard – trying to figure it out and pursuing those questions?
It was really great. I wasn’t in school, so I could focus on my questions and thoughts and ideas without the stress. With a whole year to figure out what’s on my soul and in my brain and going to God about it…God definitely answered me.
I think he showed me – above all – his overwhelming love and grace. That was really powerful. One of the main places I saw that was in the work rotation at the barn. I didn’t really want to be there at first but God totally spoke through it.
Are there other ways you’ve benefitted from taking time away from school?
It was a big year of being grateful. It was a really joyous year for me. Let’s take the barn work rotation as an example. I’d be on a trail ride and it’d be snowy and beautiful and it’d be an ordinary day. I’d think about how all of my friends were in college, most of them pursuing something they love which is awesome, but they’re in class and I’m learning through this.
I realized I was living life outside of the mainstream thing where society is like, once you’re done with high school, you just go to college. College is good, I’m going to college, but it’s also good to step off the treadmill and have more ownership of your life and who you are.
So it’s very freeing. It’s awesome.
What are the things that Vanguard provided that you were expecting?
A big thing that I was looking forward to was the community. I had seen all of the deep relationships that my sister, Sarah, had built that year and I was like man, I want that. I saw how the community lasts way beyond the end of the year. We all have this connection of this is something we did.
I wasn’t expecting to be able to let my guard down so much. Going into it, I knew that I had a lot of walls up and I didn’t think I’d be able to be honest or share certain things but I was. I wasn’t expecting to get as comfortable as I did.
What were the ways that God met you during Vanguard?
A lot of grace through the professors and their classes on spiritual development and opening up the Bible. I feel a lot more comfortable going to the Bible and I’m inspired to read it. The Bible stopped being this big text with all of this cultural background that I didn’t know. It stopped being this big book that I didn’t want to read. So God met me through the Word and met me through being able to read it and get life out of it.
The Bible stopped being this big text with all of this cultural background that I didn’t know. It stopped being this big book that I didn’t want to read.— Allie Lambert, Vanguard '19
What’s special about HoneyRock, where Vanguard takes place?
It’s the whole intentional Christian community place apart thing. You’re in Wisconsin, in the Northwoods. It’s very quiet and not a whole bunch of people. You’re 20-30 minutes away from the nearest town. You’re in a beautiful area with 50 people you see every day. It’s really awesome. Knowing that it would only be a year made me appreciate the remoteness.
The low-tech atmosphere is also really refreshing. Your brain isn’t going crazy all of the time. You’re learning that balance of how to maintain friendships from high school but also being focused on making friends with the people around you. I just like being where your feet are. It’s really, really good on the brain.
What else did you learn?
I learned how God really specifically made me a certain way and how that way is to benefit His kingdom. I think that really reassured his calling for me to do art in some way. At the end of my senior year, I committed to going to art school but I still wasn’t sure if that’s what I should do. I was just kind of like, oh man, I like art – but I don’t know if this is a good choice.
But God just really showed me how my brain thinks and that’s how He made me and that’s what He wants me to do. I learned how God made me to be in the world – to see Him and relate to Him and to show Him through art.
I learned how God made me to be in the world – to see Him and relate to Him and to show Him through art.— Allie Lambert, Vanguard '19
What would you say to someone who isn’t really sure what’s next for them? They’re graduating high school or just graduated.
It’s kind of really scary to step out of others’ expectations. Yet doing a gap year has given me a firm foundation and confidence in what a believe, a direction in where I’m going, confidence in what I believe, and a lot of love.
I think life is about much more than just chasing or following success. Take ownership of your life. Be a whole person, talk with God, be in nature, and do a gap year. Cause it’s good. It’s good for your brain.