After sharing memories of her life-changing American Idol audition, Underwood admits to being scared of boarding an airplane for the first time for a shot at stardom in Los Angeles (and eventually, country music notoriety in Nashville).
"It would be easy to say the rest is history, that it was meant to be," she wrote. "But it didn't feel like that at the time. Going through a slew of auditions in St. Louis, getting the 'golden ticket' to Hollywood, every contestant's dream, I was terrified."
Nervousness about traveling from rural Checotah, Oklahoma to Hollywood reached its peak en route to the airport while Underwood's mom ran in a grocery store to purchase lip liner for her daughter.
"All at once, it was just too much," Underwood wrote. "Going out to Los Angeles by myself, competing with all those other people who were so talented. I burst into tears. My dad turned to me in the backseat. 'Carrie,' he said, 'we can go home right now, and we don't ever have to talk about it again.' I took a deep breath. 'No,' I said at last. 'I'll go.'"
Once she arrived in Hollywood, Underwood infamously said "it's been too cloudy" when Idol host Ryan Seacrest asked if she's seen any stars.
"That naïveté, that innocence, is something I've come to be grateful for," Underwood wrote. "Growing up on a farm with loving parents and our church family defined my values. A small town with good people helped form me. I was rooted in something solid before I got to spread my wings."
Underwood's story of faith in God continues through her current situation with husband Mike Fisher and their two Biblically-named sons, Isaiah and Jacob.
Her recent Christmas album My Gift includes a duet version of "Little Drummer Boy" with Isaiah plus "Hallelujah," featuring fellow multi-Grammy award-winner John Legend. HBO Max debuts a holiday special sharing the new album's name on Dec. 3.